On Saturday the 5th of December we went to the Hifest in Hastings. For this trip I had to wake up earlier than usual. It was still dark night. When I was getting dress the room suddenly was filled up with a very intense pink light from the sunrise. It only lasted about five minutes in which I felt immersed in a dream… maybe a dream in which my room and me were part of an image from Photoshop with a pink filter. In any case the truth is that I realized in that moment that this was the very starting moment of a journey to my beloved illustration world. Another festival filled up with illustrations and wonderful people. And this time it had in addition a trip to the sea side!
The festival was in a college of art beside the train station. The first two stalls at the entrance were from charities. I really thought this was a great idea. This took illustration one step further on the path of making this world a better place to be.
Then, the hall was full of lovely illustrators with their beautiful work. So much inspiration, so much talent around! I wanted to talk to many of them but the ambience seemed quite busy and it wasn’t always possible. I wondered so many times about their methods, the secrets of the crafts. Sometimes I managed to talk and learn from the artists but others I just wished I could see them working. Stopping by from one stall to another and looking at the 70 exhibitors with its cards, books, prints, ceramics etc., three hours passed by in a flash. One unexpected thing was to find our “Nous Vous” tutors selling their work. It was really good to see them and their work put all together on the table of the stall. While I was looking one of their books a woman approached the stall to congratulate Jay for his work. She was a fan. Or in her words a “superfan!” I imagine it must be really nice to have a stranger coming to let you know that you are doing so well.
In general, a great festival with lots of talented illustrators and their great work. The end of the day was a walk against the wind in the beach. Lovely day!
Friday 4th of December I went to The London Illustration Fair in the Bargehouse. You would have thought that because it was in South Bank it was going to be in a kind of “posh” place, but actually it was in a little street behind a building facing the river Thames. The venue had a look of an abandoned place where a group of cool illustrators has decided to play for a day with their art. Although this is the first impression you will see later lots of talent and hard work standing up for this wonderful thing we called “Illustration”. The Bargehouse is a house of four floors. In each floor was a display of stands with illustrators exhibiting their work. When starting the tour the first stall was from Two Press who are a group of artists working mainly in risograph printing. This was just the starting of what I should call the fair of the risographic illustration because that seemed to be the main medium used by almost all the illustrations in this fair. And funnily enough I haven’t heard in my years studying illustration anything about the risograph printing but since Emily introduced us this method now it seems to be everywhere I look! I am looking forward to use it yet, my concern is to try to do always things in a different line of what everyone is doing. In other words, being original in a time of so many people trying to be also special and to show their very own voice. And I guess this is possible even using the same medium, but still I have this concern in the back of my mind. This worries me so much, that my friend Delfina and I were yesterday talking about creating our own homemade way of printing. We both are busy, but this could be a lovely project for the future!
Going back to the Bargehouse, it was a pleasure to see so many; one and another and so on, fantastic and even sometimes magical images (magical as this is one of the great properties of illustration, you can create the impossible!). I talked to one of the illustrators called Mr Rabbit about how this fair was working for her (Mr. Rabbit is a woman).
Some of Mr. Rabbit’s work.
She paid to exhibit her beautiful work £175 for 4 days. I asked her if she was selling enough to pay this money and she said that at the moment she didn’t get the money back and she wouldn’t think that will happen by the end of the exhibition. Also she added that she never gets the right money for the time spent in the work she does in illustration. The main priority for her was the promotion she was doing through this fair.
Illustration is vocational and you shouldn’t get involved in it if your plan is just to be wealthy. This doesn’t mean it can’t happen. Just it needs a real love for the work more than the money it will bring. In this way we could say that illustration is, as many artistic jobs are, a hard and very challenging job despite what many people thinks.
Also there were workshops in which you could get involved and learn about origami, etching, jewellery, puppets, stencilling, mask making etc.
Tom’s etching studio
The top floor had a beautiful installation. It was the perfect place to rest from so many images. a very long room completely black dark in which images were send from the extreme of the space with a very subtle relaxing noise. The perfect end forperfect exhibition