Illustrator Rachel Lillie was appointed as House of Illustration’s inaugural Illustrator in Residence in 2014.
Over the course of six months, she observed and recorded the opening of House of Illustration - from construction work to people visiting the building for the first time. She drew on location and collected materials and ephemera. At the same time, Rachel explored her longstanding interest in the history of exploration and the narrative structure of the ‘monomyth’.
Rachel’s concluding work was a two month installation at House of Illustration entitled Odyssey: The Impossibility of the Journey. She used her research material to create objects, single-frame narratives and poetry to tell the fictional story of an intrepid explorer.
Rachel says of her residency:
It was a real luxury for me to have six whole months to dedicate to making work and researching. It's not often that as illustrators you get the opportunity to do work on your own terms, or the time to explore and develop freely. To develop your work and exhibit it in such a space and on behalf of such great organisation is an incredible opportunity.
The biggest accomplishment and benefit for me has been that I have much more confidence in myself and belief in what I can do and what I want to do. After education, I feared I was losing the ability to do work on my own terms, not having time/money or the reason/application to do the sort of projects that I've always thrived on. The residency gave me a reason to make work that was meaningful and that had a purpose.
I'm happy that I've made a body of work that challenged peoples and my own perception of Illustration.
Rachel’s blog posts (written during her residency) can be seen on our News page.