Quentin Blake: Ink

At: Hastings Contemporary, Rock-a-Nore Road, Hastings TN34 3DW

7 October 2023 - 12 November 2023

More info: https://www.hastingscontemporary.org/events/sir-quentin-blake/

This autumn, Quentin is returning to Hastings Contemporary with an exhibition of three new sets of pen drawings.

Quentin says: “For 50 years of my professional life, I stood at the lightbox making drawings, many of them commissioned, with a scratchy pen and a bottle of black ink. More recently I have been exploring the artistic possibilities of a ballpoint pen. However, after 4000 imaginary portraits and many other drawings I thought it was time to go back to scratch.

There are three sets of new drawings here: High Places and Lofty Structures inhabited by bearded sages and vultures; VTT – les velos tout terrain – (bicycles) of my own inventing; and Imaginary Portraits. I would like to say they have been done “without making a single blot” – but that wouldn’t be true.”

Ink is the latest exhibition in a series of new works created by Quentin in his role as Artist Patron of the East Sussex gallery, where previous shows, such as Feet in Water, Airborne and The Only Way to Travel  have all been hugely popular. The new display has been created especially for Hastings Contemporary and will be on display at the Foreshore gallery from 7 October. 

These new pictures are full of movement, featuring phantasmagorical machines, characterful creatures and eccentric people. They are filled with recurrent themes of travel, the vitality of the human spirit and humour but more importantly, Quentin's relationship with Hastings Contemporary continues to expand his artistic practice in new directions.   

Liz Gilmore, Director of Hastings Contemporary explained.: “Our ongoing collaboration with Quentin continues to open up new creative possibilities, prompting him to explore new approaches and themes, such as migration and mental health. . QB can do this in the knowledge that the results will find themselves sympathetically shown in our extraordinary building. Indeed, he said himself that the drawings he created for Ink are ‘truly pictures for Hastings Contemporary’. It is certain to be another lovely show, full of wonder and delight. ”

Visitors to the exhibition can also take up their pencils and add contributions to Quentin's mural 'A Warm Scarf for Winter'.  Quentin's original line drawing has been enlarged to life size and printed onto paper so that exhibition-goers can take part in creating a piece of collaborative art.

Exhibition photos (c) Pete Jones