A week of reflection and patchy wakeful nights. Looking at my students' work. Quite something to be in a room with the collective ability and intelligence of 55 people. Talking as we go, inevitably about 'the subject of illustration'. We are lucky to be custodians of so much talent, in what is perceived as a boom-time for the subject. We and they dream to an extent of what could be as well as being excited about what is. We have, for example, some amazing children's book illustrators. We also have, for example, some amazing makers and writers and performers. I don't want them to have to shut down their options completely to fit the market. Or to have to abscond to another industry. I like having people who want to create the best children's books alongside people who want to author and experiment with other platforms (often the same person has the potential for both). Actually I don' t think one is more experimental than the other. But it's nice when it co-exists. And is not polarised. These activities nourish each other.
I look at Forms of Inquiry and think that this kind of space or community needs to exist for Illustration too. Critical Illustration? 'Critical' always seems to imply, in this subject, a kind of process-paralysis. I think one can make and think. I look at Four Corners Books and see a thing in the world that has the most archetypal attributes; a story with pictures. But it is for grown-ups. It is designed holistically. The concept. The images make you work a bit. Something you accept when you go to a gallery. It suggests what could be.
Holly Wales came in this week and was so interesting in conversation. We discussed these and other bits and pieces but here is someone with a level head, one eye on the market and one eye on the horizon.
I'm also thinking about Piet Zwart's two-colour letterpressed experiments, as seen in the Tate; Edward Wright's Flaxman typeface; and making this postcard-sized plate to print for the 'To Haiti With Love' fundraiser. More soon.