Situated within a glorified hallway just off of Hoxton Square is KesselKramer Outlet - a petite art gallery meets bar and mini bookshop as well as the current home of the winning designs of the 'Graniph T-Shirt Design Award 2009.' Twenty-three tee shirts were selected from thousands of entries from all over the globe, and these winning finalists' designs atop medium-sized, multicoloured shirts hang proudly in this small and sceney space.
The exhibit is fun, modest, and definitely has a bit of a studenty 'this is oh-so-Hoxton' kind of vibe. In addition to oohing and aahing over the winning shirts (which really only takes a good 15 minutes), gallery attendees can design their own shirt with a handy felt tip marker and then tape it onto the gallery wall. This display of sloppily drawn, slightly ridiculous, and at times crass designs proved to be one of the most entertaining parts of the show.
The winning shirts showcased a wide range of styles, designs, and quirky ideas. A personal favourite was a sketched family of tapirs atop a baby pink shirt by Masanovi Yoshikawa from Japan. A few of the winning designers attended the opening, including Yeji Yun from S. Korea, whose whimsical design embodied a kind of Le Petit Prince space-age sweetness, which she described much more poignantly as ‘memories in the space of time, falling.’ We also liked a moustache-adorned pink shirt by Rachel Gannas and a jungle green shirt with the words ‘Original My Ass’ by Stina Johansson—which seemed almost discomfortingly appropriate for an occasion that attracted a few hipster look-alikes who work the whole ‘body and clothing as canvas’ thing like no other.
If you happen to be in Hoxton Square, it’s definitely worth stopping by. It’s creative, fun, and just downright important to support small art spaces like the KK gallery. Expect an ever so slight dose of pretension coupled with a whole lot of awe-inspiring design talent.
By Nancy Thebaut
The Graniph T-Shirt Design Award runs at KK Outlet, 42 Hoxton Square, until 31 August.