Now 2012 is finally here, we’re starting to get seriously excited about the London Olympics and that includes the stunning posters created to mark the occasion by some of the UK’s leading artists. Since 1912 each Olympic host city has commissioned artwork to celebrate their Games and previous artists who’ve created posters include David Hockney, Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol.
For London 2012, the organising committee pulled together an impressive list of 12 artists, counting four Turner Prize winners among them, to design the commemorative posters - six to mark the Olympics and six for the Paralympic Games. The full list of artists who’ve designed posters is: Martin Creed, Anthea Hamilton, Howard Hodgkin, Chris Ofili, Bridget Riley, Rachel Whiteread, Fiona Banner, Michael Craig-Martin, Tracey Emin, Gary Hume, Sarah Morris and Bob and Roberta Smith.
We've chosen our favourite posters below, but you can see the complete set at the London 2012 shop, where they're all available to buy for £7 each.
Rachel Whiteread's LOndOn 2O12 is a colourful design of overlapping circles which resemble the Olympic rings as well as marks left by bottles or glasses. This poster has a festive feel that perfectly evokes the spirit of the Games and will make a wondeful memento of the Olympics.
Chris Ofili's poster, For the Unknown Runner, depicts a mythical figure sprinting past a watching crowd and framed by a vase motif - a reference to the Ancient Olympic Games that fuses past and present together beautifully in a few evocative brushtrokes.
For his poster to mark the Paralympic Games, Michael Craig-Martin used his signature technique of combining objects with everyday words. GO features a stopwatch to represent the sense of speed and excitement experienced by both the athlete and the crowd in the moment of competition.
As the new Professor of Drawing at the Royal Academy, it was only fitting that Tracey Emin should create an illustrative piece of art for her Paralympic poster. Emin describes Birds 2012 as a 'love letter' - the poignant sketch shows two love birds appearing to kiss beneath the words ‘You inspire me with Your determination And I love you’. This is one of our absolute favourites.
Sarah Morris is known for her geometric, abstract paintings derived from architecture and cityscapes so it makes perfect sense that her poster, Big Ben 2012, shows the iconic landmark against a colourful grid that brings to mind athletic tracks and swimming lanes.