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We here at artrepublic are thrilled to introduce you to Charlotte Hicks, a brilliant feminist painter whose work relays strong messages about women and their role in society.
AR: Does your artwork have a message?
To me, my artwork portrays a very clear message: it’s a comment on the sheer ubiquity of sexualised imagery of women in contemporary media that we tend not to notice or think about. However - talking to friends and family, I’ve realised that to other people this message isn’t immediately that obvious. Maybe it’s because I place a lot of emphasis on the visual aspects of my paintings - I incorporate bright colours and contrasting textures, which I think add a playful and graphic element to my pieces. I guess, as long as the person looking at my work is intrigued by it and wants to know more about what it represents, I’m happy.
AR: How has your life and experiences influenced your artwork?
One of the main experiences that has undoubtably influenced my work was my internship at the studio of Judy Chicago in New Mexico, USA. Having read Chicago’s autobiography before, I was deeply interested in her artistic approach; specifically, the way she draws from her own personal and professional experiences as a woman and as an artist, and translates them into her art. I had also, around the same time, found the website Headless Women of Hollywood: a blog set up by American comedian Marcia Belsky to highlight the objectification of women specifically in film posters. Marrying the two, my artwork changed drastically as I started to portray my experiences as a woman living in a capitalist, media-driven world dictated by the male gaze.
AR: What/who are your biggest influences? Artists or otherwise.
I’m really interested in and influenced by artists that create things with originality - whose work is authentic and intriguing, and you’re not sure how exactly they’ve made it. I also love looking at anything Tschabalala Self and Judy Chicago create - I’m really drawn to female artists who are reclaiming craft techniques and placing them within “high” art, white cube spaces.
AR: What did it feel like when you sold your own artwork?
It felt great, because in all honesty, I didn’t think people would want to own my work. For me, particularly when I was at art school, I always viewed what I created as experimentation, and therefore never thought of any of it as a “finished piece”. But when someone bought three of my degree show pieces on the first night of opening - that’s when I realised that maybe people are interested in what I make.
AR: Have you picked up any other skills in order to create your artwork that you weren’t expecting?
Yes, definitely. I love learning new skills that will help enhance and develop my practice. In my last year at art school, I taught myself to use a sewing machine and made my big fabric works for my degree show. I have also learned a couple of different printing techniques, and have recently enrolled in a quilting course.
AR: What’s your favourite piece in your portfolio and why?
I think my favourite piece that is being featured by Art Republic is Legs (2). It was the first screen print that I created in the first series, and was the result of me cutting up old paintings that weren’t working well. It’s so satisfying for me to reuse and repurpose works to make new ones.
AR: What is your workspace set up like?
I currently have a studio all to myself - which is handy at the moment because of the pandemic - but I do miss the collaborative element of a shared studio space a lot. I think that will be something to think about once life gets back to some sort of new normal. My workspace is also always an absolute mess. I work in a sort of organised chaos - I know where everything is but to anyone else, it’s an absolute tip.
AR: How have you developed your style?
I think any artist will tell you that you fall into what you’re making and the processes you use to make it depending on your interests and what kind of art you’re drawn to. I think my style of painting developed a lot at university, when I realised that I preferred painting quickly and intuitively - this made whatever I ended up with seem more interesting to me as it was mostly a surprise. I see my paintings as quite graphic, and this is usually consistent regardless of what medium or process I use to create them.
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