Inside Paul Smith’s New Exhibit In London

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British designer Paul Smith, known for his expert tailoring and sharp menswear, is hosting a new exhibition devoted to pencils and the creative forces behind them at his London store. The show, named the “Secret Life of the Pencil,” is taking place at the designer’s Albemarle Street store, with the majority of the proceeds going to Children in Crisis, a British charity that helps children suffering the effects of conflict and civil war.

“So many of us use computers nowadays it’s so delightful to see the sheer volume of people who still use pencils,” said Smith to his guests at the opening of the exhibit. His own pencil of choice, he admitted, is a “propelling pencil,” which he uses “so I don’t have to keep sharpening it.” Conceived by Alex Hammond, a product and packaging designer, and Mike Tinney, a photographer, the show features close-up images of the pencils used by famous creatives such as William Boyd, David Shrigley, David Bailey, John Pawson, Anish Kapoor, Celia Birtwell, Sir Quentin Blake, Dame Zandra Rhodes, Henry Holland, Peter Jensen and, of course, Paul Smith himself. For the keenest pencil lovers out there, the images can be bought with the original pencils as an accompaniment, and all the works that are currently gracing the Paul Smith store will be auctioned off by Paddle8 until June 3.

For their part, Hammond and Tinney wanted to celebrate the simplicity of this writing instrument, which is “unassuming, unsung, and 0.02 percent the cost of an iPad. Our faithful friend continues to lead its many secret lives alongside much more complex technology but at the heart of our most decisive and moving creators.” This certainly promises to be an exciting glimpse into one of the most profound creative experiences and the money left over from the proceeds will go towards funding a traveling exhibition.

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