Holly Burrows on the arts

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Holly Burrows- House of Illustration, Kings Cross

With such a buzz surrounding recent arts cuts, I came to talk to Holly Burrows, an Illustrator working in London, to see how individuals and institutions have been affected.

So Holly, what lead you to work in London?

Its got a long history of being the place where everything happens in the creative industry, so you’ve got all the big theaters, a lot of the large design companies. It’s a reputation which goes back years and years and years.

Do you live in London or do you commute?

I commute into London.

And do you feel that it’s too expensive now to live and work in the capital?

I think its virtually impossible because the cost of living is too high for what people are earning. Especially if you work in the arts or you are an artist then it’s really difficult to try and live in London, it’s basically impossible, because no one earns enough to cover just paying the rent.

So is there a consensus that arts jobs are limited to within London?

I think there is, partly because of the long history of London being the center of everything creative, but it doesn’t mean that’s necessarily true.

Why do you think it’s so important to remind people how significant the arts are?

Illustration is maybe an underrated art form, lots of people don’t see it as proper art, because its not fine art. It’s something that, because it’s everywhere, people don’t think about it very much. And so the House Of Illustration exists to promote illustration in all of it’s forms and to question peoples ideas of what illustration is.

With recent budget cuts to the arts, how has the House Of Illustration been affected?

It’s not government funded, however, it does receive donations and obviously ticket sales are what keeps us going.

There’s lots of government funded organisations who also run similarly with loads of volunteers who are being asked to make cuts. I was thinking, how can you cut something if it’s already free? Like, there is no value to that.

Is the House Of Illustration working to rekindle the public’s love for the arts, then?

Yes, definitely! And I think the public do have a real love for the arts. Sometimes when you hear government ministers talking about education, for example, one of the ministers said something ridiculous about creative subjects and that there is no point doing them because you won’t get a job. When in fact, the UK makes loads of money from creative industries alone, it’s what keeps us running as a country. So it’s not something you can just ignore and it’s not just thinking about it in terms of what it is doing for the economy; it’s more than that because people just enjoy it. People come to this exhibition and comment on how it has brought back memories for them.

The ‘Ladybird by Design’ exhibition will run until the 27th September, displaying over 120 original illustrations from the much loved Ladybird books.