The Help Portfolio: 16 Artists Support 16 Charities

As the Help Portfolio goes up at Phillips Berkeley Square, we checked in with the artists, industry-leaders, and charitable organizations who teamed up to produce it.

As the Help Portfolio goes up at Phillips Berkeley Square, we checked in with the artists, industry-leaders, and charitable organizations who teamed up to produce it.

Jake and Dinos Chapman, Colour Out of Space, 2020

A glow-in-the-dark Dalai Lama, a glittery smiley face, and a polar bear have become both symbolic and material representations of compassion. Inspired by a spirit of collective action, sixteen significant artists have donated original limited-edition prints—in their unique styles—to the Help Portfolio, 2020. Its profits will be donated to sixteen different charities, each selected by the artists involved. 

Artist Sue Arrowsmith, collector Christian Mathews, Director of Jealous Gallery and Print Studio Dario Illari, and Director of Cristea Roberts Gallery, David Cleaton-Roberts, teamed up to produce the Help Portfolio at the start of the pandemic—with immediate enthusiasm from those participating. Cleaton-Roberts was, "completely overwhelmed by the unwaveringly generous response from all the artists who, without hesitation, agree to be part of this fundraising portfolio. Each and every charity is such a worthwhile cause, and a project like this shows the power of art and artists to make a tangible difference to people’s lives."

As the Help Portfolio goes on view at Phillips Berkeley Square January 14 – 21 2021, we spoke with some of the artists involved. Scroll on to learn more about the project, the challenges and rewards of printmaking, and why Jake and Dinos Chapman's print seems to be a crowd favorite. You can also browse the portfolio, of which there are a limited number still available, at Jealous Gallery

 

Discover More from the participating charities >

Yinka Shonibare CBE

Yinka Shonibare CBE, Thank You, 2020

Why did you decide to join the Help Portfolio project?

Through the sale of the HELP Portfolio, I am delighted to be able to support the valuable work of the Unity Project, who advocate for the rights of migrant families living in poverty in the UK. Through their advocacy, they have succeeded in affecting policy change and helping migrant families to access the resources they rightly deserve.

Sue Arrowsmith

Sue Arrowsmith, The Stars Can Only Get Brighter, 2020.

Why did you decide to join the Help Portfolio project?

I instigated the Help Portfolio with my friend and collector, Christian Mathews at the start of the pandemic. We were talking on the phone about how it was making us feel, and the way it was affecting the world around us. Christian was moved by the nurse Dawn Bilbrough who was on social media in tears because she couldn't buy food after a long shift. People were scared and panic buying and Christian wanted to buy a painting of mine to send her to cheer her up. It set us thinking about doing something bigger to try to help. After a few weeks we came up with the idea of a print portfolio and it spiraled from there. We soon had 16 artists on board, Jealous Gallery offering to make the prints and David Cleaton‐Roberts from Cristea Roberts Gallery giving us brilliant advice and keeping us in check!
It was a really challenging time and I think it kept us all involved in something positive.

 

Which charity did you choose and why?

I was thinking about charities a lot because so many were struggling to cope with the extra demands from the people they were trying to help. Each artist got to nominate a charity, another reason I think this is a great idea. I wanted to give my share of the proceeds to a small charity where it would make a big difference and chose ASTI. They work with survivors of Acid attacks and do amazing work. I had the pleasure of meeting the Director, Jaf Shah, a few times and wanted to do something to raise funds for them a few years ago. When it came for me to decide, I thought of them.

 

Do you believe living with art can have a positive impact when the world around us is in Turmoil? Yes, I think art is brilliant for the soul in general.
I think its easy to overlook the positive benefits brought about by art, by looking, being.
 Of course we need food and shelter, security and healthcare but we need positive mental stimulus and sometimes a sense of escape, in turmoil and at so many other times.

Jake & Dinos Chapman

Jake and Dinos Chapman, Colour Out of Space, 2020

Despite making a joyful smiley face for the Help Portfolio, I am quite doubtful that it will have a positive impact upon the world, especially if it’s hung upside down.

 

 

Remi Rough

Remi Rough, No consequence, 2020

Why did you decide to join the Help Portfolio project? 


I decided to take part because I just thought it was a great opportunity to highlight numerous different charities. It was also such a stellar line up of artists, I felt I simply had to be involved.

 

What was most challenging about this project, what was the most 
rewarding? 


The most challenging thing for me personally was the fact that my prints were on 6mm thick sheets of ply so quite heavy, and it just changed the logistics of how it all needed to be done. Even signing them was a challenge as they weighed so much and took up so much space! Ines and I spent an entire afternoon moving slabs of wood around.

I like the precision and attention to detail you need with print. I also quite like the slight personal removal as we rely on master printers to realize our ideas for us.

You produced the art for the Help Portfolio during lockdown and 
generally challenging times. How has this influenced your choice of 
subject and the way you worked? 


This year has been unbelievable on so many levels. I guess it’s influenced me to be more daring with what I do and how I do it. There has literally been nothing to lose.

 

What is your favorite piece in the portfolio (apart from your own!)? 


I absolutely love the Margaret Calvert H£LP print. She is such a legend, and you can be anywhere in the UK and turn around and her work is literally there. I also really love Nicky Hirst’s print.

Paul Winstanley

Paul Winstanley, Lilies, 2020

Which charity did you choose and why? 


I chose a local charity rather than a National one as I thought the money would make a bigger difference to a smaller organization. And I chose Croydon Women’s Aid as they support women’s refuges locally. During lockdown, these have seen a surge of demand due to domestic violence. This is a subject close to my heart.

 

What do you like about printmaking? 


I work as a painter but printmaking allows me a different lens onto my subject and also onto the process of creating images. I’ve used various printing processes but this is the first screen print I’ve made in years and I was surprised at how subtle and exacting the method has become.

 

You produced the art for the Help Portfolio during lockdown and 
generally challenging times. How has this influenced your choice of 
subject and the way you worked? 


The image is one I had been toying with in painting. The gesture of the two hands and lilies comes from a Renaissance painting by Filippo Lippi. But during lockdown it suddenly acquired this new possible meaning of contagion. I created this smeared and distorted version of the image for the print, which seemed to fit this idea.

Paul McDevitt

Paul McDevitt, Bricks, 2020.

What do you like about printmaking?

I like the remove from the artist’s hand. Prints are so clean.

 

You produced the art for the Help Portfolio during lockdown and generally challenging times. How has this influenced your choice of subject and the way you worked?


In the summer we drove to Prague for few days. It’s not so far from Berlin. Air travel was restricted, but the city was fully open and I wanted to see it without any tourists. There was no one on the streets, and I took a lot of photographs of things you wouldn’t normally notice if the centre was packed with people. One was a boarded up window near the Charles Bridge, which had been made to look like the brick wall surrounding it. The imitation bricks were stickers, and some were peeling off. I replicated this in my print for the Help portfolio. It’s designed as a repeat pattern, without a border, so you could in theory put several prints together to make a larger motif. I suppose it says something to me about the various restrictions on movement that we saw in 2020 – from Corona to Brexit, via the physical barriers that various governments are throwing up – and the peeling bricks give it a sense of absurdity and impermanence. It’s a wall you don’t believe in.

 

Do you believe living with art can have a positive impact when the world around us is in turmoil?

Definitely, along with music, literature, etc. I bought more work in 2020 than ever before, largely because so many artists began to offer their work for cheap, direct sale, in response to falling incomes and a failing gallery system. 2020 seemed like the year that art was offered for the price it was worth between two individuals, and not a market value. It became a direct exchange between artists. Anyone who lives with art will know that the work can change day to day, just like a novel is different when read for a second time. It’s always fresh, even if you only truly notice it once a month. So living with art is a pleasure and a privilege, and also makes me feel connected to my peers, most of whom I can’t see at the moment.

Chris Levine

Chris Levine, Compassion, 2020

Why did you decide to join the Help Portfolio project? Which charity did you choose and why?

The fall out from the pandemic response is economic destruction. It's going to hurt way more people than the virus. Don't get me started. 


I’ve supported the Trussell Trust before and they're doing great work on the front line of poverty with feeding people in need. 
I’m humbled to be able to help as an artist. If I can then I must. 


 

You produced the art for the Help Portfolio during lockdown and generally challenging times. How has this influenced your choice of subject and the way you worked?

I’d always envisaged a glowing Dalai Lama and this was a great opportunity to realize it for the good of those suffering. We need more Light. 


Compassion is the name of the piece and what it's all about. Why isn't there a minister for compassion?

Do you believe living with art can have a positive impact when the world around us is in turmoil?

You bet. Art can calm, distract, enlighten, enrage, bring us to greater awareness or to a happier state of being. 


 

What is your favorite piece in the portfolio (apart from your own!)?

Jake and Dinos' is a toss up with Michael Craig-Martin’s. Both are good uplifters. 


Margaret Calvert

Margaret Calvert, Help, 2020.

Which charity did you choose and why? 


I chose The London Homeless Collective because I don’t like to think of anyone being homeless and possibly having to sleep rough in London — particularly when
 the temperature is below 5 degrees.

 

What is your favorite piece in the portfolio (apart from your own!)? 


My favorite piece is Jake and Dinos Chapman’s print, Colour out of Space, as it has a feel-good factor, apart from being an amazing technical achievement.

Ian Davenport

Ian Davenport, Uplift, 2020.

Why did you decide to join the Help Portfolio project?

I was very concerned about the health crisis that was developing in the UK and across the world. I felt as a group of artists we could do something that would make a positive difference and The Help Portfolio will benefit many charities.

 

Discover More from the Help Portfolio >

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