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Bitter lemon enamel pin by 2Bmcr

Art for the soul: 2Bmcr

On returning from London to their hometown of Manchester, sisters Elsa Hingley-Knight (@elsaghk) and Sarah Hingley (@sazzsquatch) decided to combine their storytelling and design talents. The result is 2Bmcr, a small but mighty powerhouse of fun, bold, colourful designs featuring a range of anthropomorphised animals and fruits.

From the iconic Bitter Lemon and Lil’ Peach to ‘Fishbutt’ which, as you might have guessed, has the upper body of a fish and a peachy human bum – a winningly bizarre inversion of mermaid anatomy.

2bmcr @Instagram

The sisters have taken Instagram by storm and have a popular Etsy page, where admirers can purchase their signature characters on enamel pins, cards, handmade bumbags, self-help zines (feat. injunctions from Lil’ Peach to ‘Harness your sass’) and risograph prints (the latter made in Salford using sustainable vegetable inks). And having perused the online shop, I can honestly say that the sentence ‘Bittersweet Spring Existential Lemotional Art Print’ is now seared happily into my brain.

2Bmcr say that they aim to ‘make you smile, make you feel accounted for and hopefully, make your day a little better.’ In this, they have undoubtedly succeeded, and it should be no surprise that their brand has strongly resonated with people throughout each lockdown.

2bmcr @Instagram

Call it escapism, perhaps, but there is something genuinely mood-boosting about their deadpan existential humour. Consider their ‘Nothing Matters’ skateboarding dinosaur pin, cheerily marketed as ‘a nihilistic little pin perfect for our current times’. When we’re having to attach life-or-death significance to our decision to wash our hands, this is a comforting if still absurd statement.

2bmcr @Instagram

The enduring a-peel of Bitter Lemon

Their work certainly struck a cord with @rubymartinart who nominated them as part of our ‘art for the soul’ series:

“I first spotted this pair’s artwork on the mural outside the (sadly now closed down) Magma art shop in the Northern Quarter. Their brightly coloured fruits never fail to bring a smile to my face. I love a lot of their illustrations which are both funny and heart-warming, but as someone who spends too much time on social media, I particularly relate to the lemon trying really hard not to be bitter. This feeling was particularly relevant over lockdown (I’m looking at you, New Zealand…) and I am glad to now have that feeling immortalised in print form to keep me humble.”

2bmcr @Instagram

Befriend a Vibing Orange or a Tooting Strawberry at 2Bmcr’s Etsy shop.

Tags: art in lockdown, Etsy, Graphic Design, illustration, lemon, manchester art, manchester artists

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