Monday, November 28, 2011

Illustration's Permanent Homes

I recently discovered Quentin Blake is in the process of setting up a devoted, permanent illustration museum. Excellent, all for it. But I am mystified why he says it's the first in the world. The Cutlers have done their best to do the same in the USA in their own way. The Norman Rockwell Museum isn't just about Rockwell.  The Society of Illustrators' Museum of American Illustration is public. There are other institutions in the US that support subfields of illustration, such as the Eric Carle Museum and the National Museum of Wildlife Art.  In Europe, there is Museo ABC.

I also find it odd that Blake's group has chosen the name "House of Illustration," as this seems to tread awfully close to Illustration House, which as a private commercial gallery has been a fixture for nearly 40 years.

I'm all for the more the merrier, but this kind of cultural poaching is not very merry. If we're to collectively work on the much needed effort to make illustration as valued as other arts, respecting our peers is essential.

I commend Quentin Blake for his efforts. Perhaps he just didn't do his research and the mistakes are innocent.  I hope he revises his PR to more truly reflect the situation, and I invite him to reach out to fellow institutions to make a strong network that would help him achieve his goals.