We recently heard the sad news that Emma Wilkinson had passed away at the young age of 19 from a rare reaction to the Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV). Emma was the loving girlfriend of up and coming Manchester based illustrator Stickypop aka Matt Daniels.

Taken from Manchester Evening News website:
"Emma Wilkinson, 19, died less than two weeks after falling sick with the Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV), which lies dormant in most people. The bug can cause glandular fever in patients, or mild flu-like symptoms. But Emma's mum has told how the bug triggered multiple organ failure in her daughter just 13 days after she was admitted to Tameside Hospital."
The full article can be found here. Vinyl Abuse heard that Matt was going to hold an exhibition in memory of Emma and we wanted to help him out by promoting the event on our site!  We're really glad to see so many people are helping him out and taking part. We got in touch with Matt to find out more! The theme of the pieces is "Cats and Sailors" it's something that Matt holds close to Emma as her favourite animals were cats which she adored and the sailors part came from her love for Swallows, Anchors and all things "sailorish". The designers were also given a colour palette to stick to.

The reason behind the exhibit: I’ve always said I want to do with something for charity, such as an exhibition show but I’ve never had any real reason for doing it, but with my girlfriend Emma recently passing away, I wanted to hold a night in memory of her to show everybody how much she meant to me and to have a really good night raising money for Francis House Hospice. What made you come up with the idea for an exhibition? At the end of June my girlfriend Emma was taken into hospital with the flu, but within hours of blood tests, drips and waiting she was rushing into intensive care. It actually turned out to be a virus called Epstein-Barr virus which is glandular fever, but a higher risk version of it. Sadly 2 weeks in intensive care she passed away through her organs shutting down from this virus which is a very rare reaction. I wanted to do something special in memory of her as 3 months ago, I was packing in illustration, I didn’t feel I was getting anywhere, I just felt like nobody took me seriously, but Emma told me to carry on with it as it’s how she remembered me, what she loved about me, so I decided to show how I stuck with it through everything, I’m holding this exhibition in memory of her. The exhibition is called Squiddles as it was the nickname I gave to Emma which she loved.

How did you go about getting people to take part? I had a few people in mind already so it was a case of emailing them to see if they’d be up for creating a piece but I had the feeling a lot of people would be too busy to take part as it’s something they’re doing for free to help raise money but as soon as they heard the news, I had a huge stack of people wanting to be involved! Originally I planned 10 pieces to be created but I’ve had to stretch it to 15 and other illustrations have donated pieces to the show to auction/raffle off.

Squiddles Charity Event from Broken Antler on Vimeo.

Place, date and time for the event: The exhibition will be on the 18th September at the Walrus Bar in Manchester (Northern Quarter) between 3:00pm – 9:30pm. Walrus Bar 78-88 High Street Manchester M4 1ES Who is taking part / shout outs? There are so many talented people involved but a few illustrations include Aaron Miller, Superfex, Jam Factory, TADO, Matt Taylor, Katari plus many more fantastic people! I’d like to thank Aaron Miller a lot for taking the time out of his busy life to keep checking up on Emma’s progress and to see how I’m going on, he’s been a massive help! Big thanks to him! As well Jake Ivill for meeting up in Manchester with me, checking up to see how Emma was going on, again thanks to him! Manchester based cupcake company Oh Crumbs! Cupcakes will be donating some of their delicious treats for the exhibition and will be staying with the theme of the event!

How many of each piece will be available?

There are 15 artists involved with a limited print run of 15 for each piece. Although I have very exclusive prints send by the wonderful TADO, which are a limited run of 30, hand printed Gocco prints!

How much will the prints and t-shirts be on sale for? The prints will be on a minimum donation of £10 each, if someone would like to donate more to the charity then they can do! The TADO prints will be a minimum donation of £5 each. Manchester screen printers One69A have kindly donated some Squiddles T-Shirts for the event which will be £15 each with a limited run of 20 T-Shirts! Where will the money made from the exhibition go to? I originally wanted the money to go to something related to Emma’s illness but because of how rare the virus was, there wasn’t anything around to donate to. The money will be going to Francis House Hospice who are a great children’s hospice, I chose Francis House due to Emma adoring young children and helping out children has always been something I’d like to do. A short background about yourself:

I’m a 19 year old freelance Illustrator from Manchester. I’ve studied Graphic Illustration, Applied Art & Design as well as a pre-degree foundation Art Course. I’m planning to hopefully become full time freelance with my own brand as a side project called Squiddles which is in memory of Emma as it was her nickname from me.

Vinyl Abuse will be attending to support this great cause and we look forward to meeting those involved and all the people who will be there showing their support!

Check out the Squiddles Facebook Page here and follow Stickypop on Twitter here for updates on the exhibition!