During our Summer Salon exhibition we grabbed Eleanor for a quick 5 mins over a glass of Prosecco to ask her about her life at IAF...
What do you do at IAF?
'I am Director of Art. I also teach young people aged 4 - 16 as part of the MakeArt programme'.
How long have you been coming to IAF?
'I first walked in at the age of 11! I attended art classes here all the way through my teenage years. It was a really important part of my life at the time, offering me the space to develop my interest in art and my skills outside of school. I had a great group of friends who came to the class and I have really happy memories of those years. Years after leaving to pursue my art training at university, I was invited back as an art tutor. My involvement developed from there and I ended up leading the art department. I try to offer my students the same kind of experience that I benefitted from at their age; support, encouragement and a nurturing space for creativity to flourish.'
Tell us what IAF means to you?
'I just love the multi art environment. I think it is vital that places like this exist! I believe strongly that art has an important role in bringing communities together and giving people something outside of the everyday, to explore, be creative and find new passions in life.'
What is your favourite artwork?
'The Supper at Emmaus by Caravaggio never fails to stop me in my tracks when I visit the National Gallery. I love the study of human psychology that this piece reveals, the drama and the perfect rendering of his subject.'
The Supper at Emmaus Caravaggio
Tell us something about IAF that might surprise people...
'Behind the scenes we keep and maintain a Moose, who regularly changes his dress to keep us entertained in the office. He is partial to Tutus, feathers and sequins and seems to be working his way through the Costume Department's vast collection with joyous abandon!'
What's your favourite local gem?
'Toni and Guy on Holloway road. A lovely stylist called Sylvia gave me the most fabulous restyle recently. Call me shallow if you will, but I firmly believe a good hairdo can give you all the confidence you need to move forward in life.'
Thanks Eleanor, before you get back to the throng, tell us what do you get up to when you're not here?
'My studio is in Forest Gate E7. I am currently working on a Forest Gate Portrait Project, where I make large scale pencil portraits of people who live or work in the area. I love working with communities and involving people in my art practice, either as the subjects of my work or as participants in workshops. Art is for everyone!'
Eleanor and her Forest Gate Portrait Project
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