Hastings Illustrators Festival (HiFest) was started in 2014 and has become a staple now in the Hastings events diary, you can watch videos of 2014 and 2015 here. Attracting some big names in the illustration business and being able to buy works from the illustrators as well as talks and workshops, it's damn good value for a £5.
Frannerd and Holly Exley discussed how youtube has affected and built their careers, Nina Cosford, Laura Callaghan, Rose Blake, and Karolin Schnoor were part of an enlightening and inspiring panel as part of 'Girls That Draw'. Benjamin Phillips was there too, creating portraits.
This year the event was held at The Printworks, which is a lovely building, I've previously helped set up events there including Fat Tuesday and Voodoo Fest, but for HiFest, it felt too small. Although I managed to have a great discussion with Tor Freeman about printing facilities in Hastings it was probably the only discussion I managed to have, which was disappointing.
Although I'm not always the easiest to talk to, and I struggle to approach people in conversation I like to have the chance to, but on Saturday of HiFest it was too busy. When buying a print from Evie May Adams I just had to do lots of pointing and throwing money around and over people, it felt wrong.
The joy of events like this is often in talking and meeting the makers. I do not begrudge paying the £5 entrance fee because many of the illustrators have travelled to be a part of it, and they deserve paying for their attendance, despite having items for sale. Those that took part in the panel and provided workshops should be paid too. (I presume they were paid; rightly so).
I don't mean to sound negative, the standard of work was impressive, and I could have easily spent so much more money than I did, it was amazing to see people I know selling with those that I watch and follow on social media. I now have a wish list as long as the M25 of art that I want for my flat, and more than that, it was inspiring. HiFest illustrates very well, what can be done and current themes in illustration. I was also most impressed with the amount of cats thats featured across all the prints and badges and zines for sale. (YAY CATS).
I'm so lucky to live where I do, that such an event is put on at an affordable price is so damned brilliant, the ability to network and to learn is one that is priceless. Once my prints are framed and hung I will be able to look back and remember talking with Tor (which sounds so creepy, so very creepy). It's these events too that cement Hastings on the map as a creative hub, and even thought a double edged sword helps to bring money into a town, money that is so needed.
Finally a massive thanks to those illustrators that did help make the event what it was, a list of those that attended can be found here, and I would implore you to investigate and to support those independent makers, because the work is absolutely awesome.