The thing about twitter is serendipity. It’s how you just happen upon things and people you’d never have happened upon otherwise, and some – surprisingly many – of those things go on to seep into your life until you feel like they’ve always been there.
It was twitter that reignited my relationship with Blackwell’s, and it was twitter that brought the artist and illustrator Kate Madigan to the bookshop’s attention. Kate had been spending time in the store, drawing pictures of customers over coffee, and a few weeks ago she idly tweeted about it. Blackwell’s spotted it and a few tweets and a couple of months later that’s how I came to be having coffee with Kate in a Blackwell’s cafe proudly displaying an exhibition of her really rather fabulous work, discussing Scottish writing (is there anybody who doesn’t know Kirsty Logan? If so, can one of them please explain why she’s still scraping by rather than living off the big sloppy advances she deserves?), exhiitions, and collaborating on a book cover.
There’s something rather wonderful about the concept of this exhibition. I remember sitting in a coffee shop in Wardour Street what must have been a decade ago and someone asked if they could draw me. I still have the sketch somewhere (to demonstrate how long ago it was, it was before the beard!). But it’s not just the way the work so obviously belongs in the bookshop. There’s something wonderfully fitting in the mix of pieces: from the period illustration feel of the guy browsing the crime shelf to the simple, contemporary lines of the girl with the bobbed hair. It’s more than a series of faces. It’s a story that belongs to the bookshop.
There is even more fabulousness on Kate’s website, including work like this marvellous drawing set in Great Tew. And the best news of all is that she will work on commissions – so get to it!!