Author: Imogen Aldridge

An Interview with Hannah Carvell

We sat down with printmaker Hannah Carvell to chat about how she juggles being a mum and full time artist, her studio rituals and her advice for female artists.

AR: How has your work been shaped by your own experiences as a female artist?

HC: For sure my biggest challenge as a female artist is that being a mum pulls you in so many different directions. Keeping focus and in the right headspace can be tricky. Even now, my daughter keeps popping into the studio to borrow pots of glitter and ask for paints! And when they are at school it’s all about juggling that shorter day, knowing at 3:30pm I am back in mum mode to collect from school and make dinner, so I am always watching the clock. 

Otherwise, I’ve never really thought that being a female has influenced what I do as an artist. I’m just drawn to things I like, and that's colour. Bright colours make me feel happy and always have; I love a good clash, combining colours that contrast especially when layering inks and seeing what new colour gets made in that process. I suppose as a female artist I tend towards a pretty aesthetic. I can’t seem to leave that pot of neon pink ink alone. The brighter the better - I am a magpie for the bright colours. 

An Interview with Hannah Carvell | Image

You Are My Sunshine in Multicolour - A2 by Hannah Carvell

An Interview with Hannah Carvell | Image

AR: Colour is a key part of your work; what attracts you most to bold, bright colours?

HC: I can only really describe my attraction to colour in that it sparks all the joy in me. I am drawn to colour anywhere and everywhere; in nature, on my dog walks, in the street when you see a great colour somewhere, fashion and when I am printing. The pots of ink and colour painting make me very happy!

I love layering the inks to make new shades, diluting the inks so the colour underneath shows through in a new shade. On the whole, the brighter the colour the better - if I can get neon ink into a print then I will.

AR: How did you make art your full-time career? Did you face any challenges?

HC: When I had my second baby, I didn't want to go back to the London career path that I was on. I was lucky that I could choose to be a stay-at-home mum while my babies were small, and I threw myself into all the creativity that comes with that. I got into making birthday cakes (I still do!) and all the costumes for the nursery nativity. It made me realise how much I missed being creative, and so I set up a home studio and made art, specifically printing, my career. The challenge will always be time for me, as I am a one (wo)man band!

An Interview with Hannah Carvell | Image

Gorilla - Neon Pink by Hannah Carvell

An Interview with Hannah Carvell | Image

AR: Do you have any studio rituals to help you focus?

HC: I need more studio rituals to make me focus, I am a terrible procrastinator and I jump around to 10 different tasks at any one time. I always have a few different projects on the go at once…there are lots of half finished pieces on my print racks currently. Hiding my phone would be the top tip, it's a terrible distraction. Although I need to film content for Instagram - it’s about finding a balance between using the phone for work and then putting the phone down and not getting sucked in. I always have BBC Radio 2 on when I’m in my studio, and I always walk my dogs before I head in. Being out in nature is a great way of finding inspiration and clearing your head.

AR: Do you have a favourite female artist?

HC: Tracey Emin springs to mind instantly. I have always liked her, ever since I was a teenager. I have grown up with her and she fascinates me. I remember going to the Saatchi Sensation Exhibition with my school back in the 90s and I was so inspired and obsessed by that exhibition that I made my nan take me again. The tent “Everyone I Have Ever Slept With” was the real stand out piece in that show. She is so cool, yet so relatable, so honest, so fragile and of course extremely talented. Whenever I come into King’s Cross, I adore seeing her neon pink words - they are an ongoing inspiration for me.

An Interview with Hannah Carvell | Image

Bananas by Hannah Carvell

An Interview with Hannah Carvell | Image

AR: Do you have any advice for an aspiring female artist?

HC: The advice I would give is to just do it. I spent far too long thinking about it, and even when I had been printing for a year and had previously sold paintings, when people asked to buy my work or commission an artwork I said ‘no’ or gave my pieces away for free. I always said that I wasn't ready to take that plunge to start selling my art and make it my job. I remember someone said to me that “you will never feel ready, you just have to do it” and from there your work will evolve and get better. So the best advice I can give is to just start. Just do it.

To discover more of Hannah's art, discover her collection here.

An Interview with Hannah Carvell | Image

artworks

Neon Dragon Fruits

29.7 x 42cm

£60

29.7 x 42cm

Bananas

29.7 x 42cm

£60

29.7 x 42cm

Don't Be A Dick - Blue
Exclusive

£75

29.7 x 42cm

£85

45 x 45cm

£70

42 x 59.4cm

Gorilla - Silver Foil

42 x 59.4cm

£195

42 x 59.4cm

£75

29.7 x 42cm

Blue China Dogs

50 x 40cm

£70

50 x 40cm

Gorilla - Lilac Foil

42 x 59.4cm

£195

42 x 59.4cm

Gorilla - Pink Foil

42 x 59.4cm

£195

42 x 59.4cm

Gorilla - Neon Pink

42 x 59.4cm

£125

42 x 59.4cm

Gorilla - Pastel Pink

42 x 59.4cm

£125

42 x 59.4cm

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