Illustrated Tapes ✕ Shake Bristol

Curated by Max Kemp
01.02.19
spoti.fi/2S0fnwd



Made to be played front →  back.
Shake Bristol is some kinda ‘art fair’ and magazine based in… well you guessed it, Bristol! We linked up with head honcho and illustrator Max Kemp in our first ever special edition.

What’s up Max! At the end of last year we asked you to put together a mixtape using tracks selected by each of December’s Shake exhibitors - how’d you get on?

I’ve loved it! It was a bit tougher than the usual playlist as I asked each of the December event’s artists to put forward a few songs each, which i then trawled through, choose one from everyone and then put together a playlist. The eclectic mix represents Shake well i think!

What’s the story behind Shake?

I grew up in Cornwall, but i don’t drink and I’m not hugely into the very British idea of getting drunk to make friends and meet people (there’s not much to do in Cornwall during winter). So i decided to try and make a platform for people like me, that wanted to be creative and make things. The kind of people who tend to spend a lot of time at their desks, in their rooms or studios. Basically a way to get all kinds of likeminded creative people together in person.


The result was the Baby Teeth: Art Fair & Gathering, which ran for like two years, and built a good community with a solid local following. But when i moved to Bristol back in 2013 i decided i wanted to work on a better version, and make something which was entirely illustration based with a focus on community, accessibility and personality, and not just some people sitting behind tables in a room selling things.


After being in Bristol for a year I made a list of all of the southwest illustrators I knew and reached out, explaining the idea. The first Shake happened in July 2014 above the Stag & Hounds pub in a small function room using whatever tables we had. Lize from Sad Ghost Club was a part of Shake at the beginning too, so it was a result of us both putting our heads together. It went down well, we did a few more together, but Sad Ghost Club picked up and turned into a full time job for her!

What’s the creative scene like on the westside?

A huge part of why i moved is due to Bristol was that it’s an exciting and inspiring place for creativity. The fact that it’s location is pretty central, it has an airport with good connections and has a great university with really good creative courses is a saving grace for constant change and new creative people constantly coming through. I’m constantly finding artists that inspire me through Shake, both local and from further afield.

Shake seems to have a great community vibe and is very organic and down-to-earth, which isn’t the case for all art fairs, do you think the location has a part to play in that?

I think you’re right! I Try my very best to make sure everything is thought of and everyone is ok in the build-up, during and after the event. But I think the main reason it’s like this is due to the general good vibe from most Bristol creatives. There’s a huge student population, and a whole lot of lovely humble people that i’m constantly grateful for being surrounded by.


Be it stalling, helping me with posters, doing a social media post, coming along on the day and spending their last tenner, or even just liking a picture on Instagram. I like to try and get stallers who will be fun and get what Shake’s about, and I even go as far as to carefully sit people next to each other who i think might get along! But what I think has made shake what it is, is the southwests attitude, comfort, respect, and community.



Do you have any plans for 2019?

For 2019 there’s the February 10th and April 7th illustration fairs at Rough Trade, and April’s will be the last until October. But there’ll hopefully be a collaboration event in may with BRICKS Magazine also. I also really want to start putting on the ‘Shake Social’ again, which is a drink and draw event. Basically it’s Shake without the tables, so everyone can just meet and do some drawing together. 


I might start working on the next issue of the magazine later in the year too! The last one was so much work for me and my friend matt (he helps with the mag layout and graphic design side) that I decided to give it a while before the next. Also the Shaketober stuff went down well, so I’ll be doing that again for sure.


might even work on some kind of online Shake drawing club kinda thing as after Shaketober - I kept getting requests to make it more regular. I’d like to do some more events outside of bristol again sometime too!

Bristol seems to have a great music scene as well. Do you find a lot of overlap between the two communities?

There tends to be a lot of musicians, promoters, and venue staff that stall or come down to Shake! Adrian from Rough Trade and Spectres has always been a huge help and always super encouraging too, so shout out to him!

We love the illustrations you produce for the Shake branding. How did you go about the artwork for the mixtape?

Thanks - stoked you’re into it! For this piece I was freakin’ out, as I find it easy to work with commissions or the random Shake stuff, but with this I was like “ITS GOTTA BE SHAKE, BUT SOMETHING A BIT DIFFERENT!” I guess in a similar way to when I work on each event poster, it has to be obviously Shake but then I dont want any poster to be too similar! So I’ve kinda done it like a comic strip panel with a close up of a guy wired from drawing, haha. Side note: I was listening to the playlist as I worked on this!

What’s your favourite arty spot in Bristol?

I mostly watch movies, skate and draw at home when I’m not working either job or doing Shake stuff, so most spots I go to are dark rooms or concrete areas haha, so this is a tough one to be honest! Bristol’s a place covered in graffiti, and I like looking out for solid colour and type. A few people I keep my eyes open for are: Mr Penfold, RICHT, 45RPM and Kid Crayon. So yeah, My favourite arty spot is just a few underpasses and some walls here and there.

Favourite place to hang out?

In the cinema with my phone turned off!

And your favourite Bristol munchies?

Oowee Vegan for their Cluckin Fries, Marling for the vegan Chinese, Fi Real for Caribbean food and Dangun for Korean food. I like to eat basically.

What’s happening in your own creative world at the moment?

I do posters for shows at The Hope & Ruin, Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar in Brighton and Elsewhere in Margate. Most of my creative energy and time goes into making all of the shake branding and planning but I’m trying to work on my sketchbook most days too to keep it going. I grew up doing show posters so that’s the thing I mostly love to do! Oh I just did a tee for BRIGHTR recently too, he’s great and we’ve worked together for a while now on his merch and record covers.

Thanks Max, looking forward to more Shakey stuff in 2019!

Cheers for chattin to me, this has been a fun little project and I like what you’re doing! P.S. thanks to all of the artists who put in songs for the playlist!

Where can we find you?

︎ shakebristol.co.uk
︎ shakebristol
︎ @SHAKEBRISTOL
︎ /SHAKEBRISTOL

Mark