Artists create portraits of each other to raise money for the National Autistic Society

Tonight, the hellohead project will be exhibiting at Cargo in East London, bringing together a series of portraits of each other created by illustrators including Pomme Chan, Sandra Diekmann, Miss Led, Tim McDonagh, Harriet Seed and Holly Wales to raise money for the National Autistic Society.

There will be a silent auction of the artwork at the event tonight, which has been printed by Ripe Digital. The hellohead tea towel will be on sale, designed by Marcus Oakley and screenprinted by I Dress Myself. The night will also feature live portrait drawing and a pop up shop.

Uberkraaft by Rachel Green

Rachel Green by Uberkraaft

Hellohead was set up by two illustrators, Lucy Joy & Rosie Shorter. We caught up with them to learn more about this fantastic project.

DA: Tell us a bit about yourself.

LJ: "I studied at the Arts College University Bournemouth and Rosie at Brighton University. We met in London, when we were both working together at YCN, our first jobs out of University.

"We both went on to do other things; I moved to Bath to work as a freelance illustrator and part time as an in-house greetings card designer and Rosie moved to Brighton and now works part time for Crush Creative and organises Glug Brighton as well as working as a freelance illustrator and mural painter."

DA: How did you come up with the idea for the project?

RS: "The idea for hellohead came from an idea Lucy had, to do a little portrait swap project between a few close illustrator friends. I don't give myself enough time to do personal work and thought if I involved others it would be great motivation. I realised the network of illustrators we knew between us was pretty big, so we started asking others we knew take part.

"I then got the bug and started asking illustrators I didn't know but whose work I really admired, until I had 60 illustrators who had agreed to be involved! All of the artists have been great and were really happy to give up their time to take part in the project. Names were pulled out of a hat, pairing people at random, this created a great mix of styles and brought together illustrators who had never met before.

"Ironically we have now turned this into a mammoth project, but together with both our networking, organising and event skills, plus lots of energy we are putting together a great event."

Lauren Crow by Miss Led

Samantha Dolan by Tim McDonagh

Debbie Powell by Kate Copeland

DA: Why did you choose to raise money for NAS?

RS: "Lucy started volunteering for the National Autistic Society's Out Of Schools club about two years ago. It's a great project where children and young people with Asperger syndrome and high-functioning autism come every week to socialise with each other in a safe environment. They are supported through the range of activities planned for them each week such as cooking, games and swimming.

"Quite a few love to draw too, so as the hellohead project grew and our exhibition was being planned, we thought it would be lovely to involve the NAS with their own portrait swap. We had a great response to the call out, from budding artists all over the country. Following the parings some lovely messages were sent to each other too alongside the artwork, they are all extremely excited to be involved in an exhibition which features professional illustrators.

"As well as raising money, we hope that hellohead will raise awareness for The National Autistic Society, who are the leading UK charity for people with autism (including Asperger Syndrome) and their families and who are campaigning for a better world for people with autism."

Sandra Diekmann by Pietari Posti

Pietari Posti by Sandra Diekmann

DA: Tell us a bit about the workshops for childen you're running today alongside the evening event

LJ: "Unfortunately the evening event isn't suitable for children to attend, but we really wanted to have a day where they were able to come and see theirs and everyone else's work. We were thrilled to secure sponsorship from Creativepool, which has meant we can buy materials for the workshop. Our friends Bread Collective and Zeena Shah were really keen to get involved and are holding workshops for children with Autism and Asperger Syndrome at Cargo. They have planned a great day with table-top screen printing and mask-making for the children, who I'm sure will get lots out of it.

DA: How have you promoted it?

LJ: "Rosie is the queen of promotion and organising events, skills built through YCN and Glug Brighton. So as soon as I had the 60 illustrators signed up, I called her immediately for help. She has been instrumental in all of the event organising, including securing our amazing venue at Cargo London.

Rosie created our press release with which we bombarded every single newspaper, magazine and blog that we could think of! As well as our website, we have a blog and facebook page. Rosie and I have both been tweeting and have gathered lots of followers. All of the hellohead artists have been spreading the word too and we have been lucky to have some great press.

DA: Do you have a personal favourite amongst the artworks?

LJ: "What I love about the pieces is the way they complement each other, the bigger names in the illustration world along with the up-and-coming. I asked all of the illustrators to be involved because I liked their work, so it would be impossible for me to choose a favourite."

Sam Glynn by Alvaro Tapia

So if you're free tonight and within Tube, bus, train or penny farthing distance of Shoreditch, get yourself to Cargo from 7 at 83 Rivington Street, Shoreditch, London EC2A 3AY.

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