We are so excited to welcome artist and illustrator Hannah Gilson to Art Republic, and are sure that her fun and playful artworks will make her a firm favourite. We spoke with Hannah about what inspires her, her love for animals and colour, and her creative process.
AR: Where does your passion for art come from and when did you realise you wanted to be an artist?
I’ve always loved drawing. When I was a teenager I would sit for hours painting and drawing with my headphones on, constantly trying to hone my skills by experimenting with paints and different materials. I think it was about that time that I realised that I wanted to be an artist. Took me another 20 years to action that though!
AR: Your artworks feature many interesting characters and animals, where do you get your inspiration and ideas from?
I’m interested in the role of both women and animals in folklore, mythology and cautionary story telling. I enjoy the retelling of well known stories - playing on the imagery that people are familiar with and juxtaposing it with pop cultural references and messages of female empowerment. I’m in the process of developing a series of prints based on Hans Christian Andersen’s ‘The Wild Swans’ for my solo showcase at the Woolwich Contemporary Print Fair this year.
AR: Can you tell us more about your creative process? You work with a range of mediums, do you have a favourite?
I typically start with a very basic pencil sketch of ideas that I then develop into digital sketches on photoshop. I’m very time poor at the moment so working digitally gives me the freedom to work quickly. I will then artwork these into stencils I can screenprint. I’m really enjoying the screen-printing process at the moment. I like how punchy the colours can be and that you can combine the process with drawing.
AR: Your artworks are so vibrant, is colour important to you?
Colour is really important. I specialised in painting and I think I still think like a painter when I’m experimenting with colour. If the colours don’t ‘sing’ the work just looks jarring. Colour has the amazing power of connecting the viewer to the work- people often comment on how they are drawn to the colour in my work - it’s the first thing before they see anything else.
AR: What artwork are you most proud of?
‘Wonder’ is my favourite - it was a beast to draw. It brings together so many different narratives around the female experience with a bit of humour and irony.
AR: How has your artistic style or practice developed so far, and how do you see it developing in the future?
So far I’ve evolved from a painter to an illustrator and now I’m printmaking and starting to dabble with mixed media - who knows? I find things tend to go full circle - I would love to go back to painting big originals but I would need a bigger studio for that!
To explore Hannah's collection of artworks, visit her collection here.