London Illustration Fair
The annual London Illustration Fair was held in Bargehouse of The OXO Tower Wharf in Southbank along the River Themes in central London on the first weekend of December. I had missed last years event and decided to book this year’s trip early to avoid the same disappointment. As London is such an illustration hub I knew the standard would be high and I wasn’t let down. Each room in the dishevelled and eerie building was packed full of prints and cards and a plethora of trinkets to enjoy.
“Attending creative events, conferences and trade or craft shows in person offers countless opportunities to interact with other creatives types, people who have a lot in common with you.” (Sibley, 2014)
Although I would say the majority were illustration prints, there were plenty of zines dotted around the rooms and most of the items were priced very reasonably. In fact, it was the entrepreneurial spirit in each of the rooms that excited me the most. All of these people were illustrators trying to maintain a career doing what they love and that feeling was alive in the building. There was a great variety of approaches in selling techniques and a lot of inventive displays. I could tell the people who had clearly exhibited there work at similar events many times by there confidence and preparation in explaining their practice or the aim of the collective they worked with.
“Don’t be afraid to make the first move. Perfect your elevator pitch by coming up with one or two sentences that accurately describe your business ahead of time, and practice them out loud often.” (Sibley, 2014)
The community atmosphere of the exhibitors immediately struck me . They seemed genuinely excited by each other’s work and would often refer to other practitioners when I got talking to them. It was a very positive and impressively progressive event; the payments were made at communal desks and even card payments were quickly sorted through. The experience made me excited to participate in a similar event myself. There was a sizeable contingent of international exhibitors present on the day who had flown over specifically to exhibit. I can see how this could be a great opportunity to present my work to a large international audience of people who are actively engaged in the contemporary illustration community.