This is a resume from my time in the House of Illustration of the things I find important. I will always keep this experience with me:
The power of observation
One of the main roles I had in the House of Illustration was the invigilation of the exhibition rooms. Is probably one of the most unnoticed jobs while at the same time you are not hidden, but quite visible. Others might see you just as a piece of furniture. You are just there, quiet, silence, not disturbing other’s people enjoyable time. You don’t exist for the world except when there is a problem. Luckily in all the hours I had been working in vigilance I have never encounter any problem.
But, are vigilantes as they look? Not at all. The truth is that the nine hours of quietness can bring lots of mind stimulation and great insights when you are in the right place. And for sure The House of Illustration is the right place for an illustrator. People do look at the exhibition in different ways, each person bring their own interest and they comment interesting things (when they are accompanied) and look at things in very different ways. Listening and observing can also teach you new things. Then, there is also the long hours when there’s no one visiting the exhibition…. those are my own hours, when the exhibition is there just for me and I am able to slowly sink into each piece hanging in the wall and read the artists graphic novels that were also in the exhibition. I would dedicate each day to different artists. The quiet learning in those hours were a little treasure I will always remember.
Flexibility – Workshops
The House of Illustration is a big place with many different people working. Each one has their own personal style. I am very interested in working with people and have a background with children and arts in schools. I owe then so much for my illustration style nowadays and returning to this was very touching. Each workshop was run by a different illustrator and for different kind of interests and people like single young mums, a school of deaf children, families and general schools. My role was to assist the leader. Once again I was in the background as a learner. Each illustrator would teach their own strengths and tricks in illustration and we would have a chat before starting so I could know about what we would be doing in the next hours. I would learn from each one and try to fit their requirements. Working with so many children can be very exciting and also stressful. Flexibility to work and learn from each illustrator was key.
Getting familiar with the place
While I was immersing in my own tasks in The House of Illustration other things were happening. The last days I was there one of the exhibitions finished and The House of Illustration was setting up a new one. So I was able to see and listen to the many people involved in the new exhibition coming in. From the outside it would look like nothing was happening but the movement inside The House of Illustration was almost like a revolution.
Another very interesting thing that I would have never expected is that in the House of Illustration are between thirty-five to fifty volunteers on a rota. It was actually a bit hard to get “invited” to volunteer for this placement, I had to convince them of my value. So, thinking that illustration is not a first need cause in our society, to get involve as a supporter or volunteer is very generous of people. What this tells me is that when you do something good it would attract likeminded people, no matter what is for. Is very encouraging to see how we all want to be part of a bigger piece of what we really love. This is part of being a social animal!
I also met wonderful people and very probably will keep in touch with them. My little fanzines “How did I ever ended here?” are now selling in the shop. And who knows, maybe one day I have another book in their shelves!
To read more in detail please go to my other posts in the “Work experience placement”