Publishing highlights 2022: an interview with our Founder, Gyr King

Our team of curators and creatives brought you several remarkable new collections last year. We asked our founder and CEO Gyr King to reflect on his 2022 highlights and the exciting new things to look out for in 2023. Read the full interview below.

Gyr King, CEO of King & McGaw in the Sussex design studio

Q: Hi Gyr, King & McGaw celebrated its 40th year last year, can you tell us about some of the things you’ve done to mark the occasion.

A: Back in April, we collaborated with Becca Pelly-Fry, an independent curator based in London. With her help, we launched a collection of limited edition prints by 11 exciting contemporary artists.

Each used a variety of mediums including sculpture, performance, painting, collage and drawing and our publishing team worked hard to represent all of these practices, making them viable for edition production. 

Some of the artists added hand-finish elements to their pieces, making them very unique. We also made bespoke frames for all, including a circular plywood framed print featuring 3D laser cut figures, and a lightbox that works with a rechargeable battery so that there is no unsightly lead that has to be plugged into the mains.

Q: You have worked closely with the DACS Artimage (not-for-profit organisation dedicated to licensing exceptional contemporary art) for a long time. Can you tell us about the work you did with them last year?

A: Yeah, we have worked closely with DACS for the past 35 years. Earlier last year we worked with them alongside the Patrick Heron Estate to launch a new set of prints by the abstract artist as part of our Tate collection.

Working with DACS and The Matisse Estate, we also launched a new collection of Matisse’s ‘cut-out’ collages. The Estate has not given permission for new prints to anyone for a long time, so we were thrilled to be given this opportunity. They also helped our in-house designers colour match the prints to their originals using a controlled light-box.

There have also been a number of other collaborations with DACS including the important and highly collectable Gilbert & George and Frank Bowling.

Q: You’ve been expanding your collection of original Hollywood film stills. Can you tell us more about these rare photographs?

A: We work with highly respected, specialist dealers to source these unique photographs and we frame them in our workshops to archival standards so that they will be preserved in superb condition for many years to come. 

The collection features original photographs taken on film sets in the later half of the twentieth century. All would have originally been sent out to newspapers, magazines, and cinemas to promote the films before their release. 

We launched our first collection in March and after selling out within a few weeks, we decided to source some more. We have since released five more collections including some new pieces that will be launched over Christmas, watch this space!

Q: King & McGaw is traditionally a print publisher, can you tell us about your recent decision to expand the collection to include ceramic works?

A: I have always been fascinated by ceramics. I worked in pottery after graduating from university for several years. Working, as we do, with such incredible artists and collections means that on occasions we see artworks that we think will work wonderfully as objects rather than pictures – things that would enhance people’s homes and everyday life. 

Back in May, we launched our first limited edition ceramic platter, created in collaboration with the Terry Frost Estate. It is based on an original linocut created by Terry Frost in 1990 and is said to be inspired by the rising and setting of the sun over the village of Trewellard near the artist’s home in Cornwall. 

We only ever made 12 and the silk screen decal print is carefully applied by hand by highly-skilled artisans.

As a company, we intend to develop more art-related objects like this and slowly establish a collection that will complement the artworks we mainly produce.

Terry Frost, limited edition ceramic platter
Terry Frost, limited edition ceramic platter

Q: King & McGaw is based in Sussex where it continues to support local artists. Which artists have you enjoyed working with this year?

A: We were thrilled to work with Brighton-based painter Faye Bridgwater again last year. She creates colourful abstract landscapes inspired by the Sussex coastline and South Downs. We expanded her already very popular range to include two limited edition prints. 

She loves to incorporate texture into her pieces, so we invited her to our design studio to hand-finish each edition. Bright and full of energy, it’s always a pleasure working with Faye.

We have also worked with the wonderful new magazine for Sussex Arts, ‘ROSA’, helping through sponsorship. This is a superb development for the arts in our area and we are very proud to be able to help in this way.

Q: You’ve also expanded your print collection with Margate-based painter and printmaker David Price. Can you tell us about the hand-finished elements in his newly-launched limited editions?

A: David Price lives and works between Margate and London. He is represented by Frestonian Gallery. In August our publishing team worked closely with him to create four limited editions, the collection is called Paper Flowers.

Although David lives in Margate, he is also a printmaking tutor at London Met University so he understands our processes. It meant we could collaborate slightly differently and do so by incorporating handmade paper-cut flowers into each design.

Q: You’ve added to London artist Hormazd Narielwalla’s series of limited edition prints. Can you tell us more about the latest additions to his ‘The Queen’ series?

A: We’ve worked with Hormazd Narielwalla for a long time and we love his bold, abstract compositions inspired by vintage tailoring patterns. Following the success of ‘The Queen’ editions which are an homage to one of Hormazd’s most-loved muses Frida Kahlo, we decided to launch three more designs. These figurative collages depict Frida in different costumes featuring various motifs such as cherry blossom trees, flora and fauna.

Q: Towards the end of last year, you launched a collection of limited edition prints with celebrated designer Bella Freud. Can you tell us more about the collaboration?

A: We invited Bella to visit our design studio and showed her the printing processes in our workshop. The result was seven limited edition prints and two signed silkscreen designs, one of which we added hand-applied gold foil which sold out really quickly. 

We also hosted a launch party at Bella’s beautiful retail shop in Marylebone. It was such an honour to see our prints hanging on the walls of her shop alongside her celebrated clothing designs. 

Q: What’s on the horizon for King & McGaw in 2023?

A: We have a very busy publishing and production schedule for 2023, packed with exciting imagery and some more home interiors based objects and stationery.

Late last year we purchased an extensive collection of rare Picasso Lithographs which we will be offering early next year. 

We’re also working on releasing new editions and limited editions with many of our regular artists including a series of limited editions with the London based artist Blue Farrier, new works from the leading abstract artist Frank Bowling, and the celebrated British photographer Willie Christie.

The light artist Liz West has also worked with us to create three new editions of her work and we will be releasing more wonderful and rare items that will be launched in our UNIQUE section.

New landscapes from the popular Scottish artist Ron Lawson, and new interior abstracts by Ele Pack are just some of the works to look out for as well.

Late in 2023, the very prestigious Turner Prize will be staged locally at Towner Gallery in Eastbourne and as a company we will be supporting this activity in a number of ways, more on this and our involvement will be announced soon!

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