Interview with Hannah Adamaszek
Hannah Adamaszek is a painter who draws upon and engages with the fields of fine and street art, commonly depicting scenes of everyday life and people. She was born in the UK in 1981 and graduated from Bournemouth University with a degree in the arts. She favours a wide variety of media including inks, acrylics and spray paint, with tools including decorating brushes and cardboard stencils.
She is part of Scrawl Collective, Urban Curations, and is a featured artist on iloveartbastard.com, Hypocritedesign, Origin of Cool and Novel Magazine. She is also working with The Gallery Court and Upper Space.
She is also available for commissions, projects and collaborations.
What sort of themes were you interested in regarding your early art practice and how have these evolved?
Whilst at college I was really influenced by the punk scene and the art that came out of it, which is still an influence now. It was the simplicity of the music and the extreme way it was put to the audience. I guess this has really transferred into my work and given it a raw quality. I was interested in street life and did some work with the homeless and street performers around London. I also did a lot of documentary photography printed out dark and grainy, which I’ve transferred across to my paintings. Since travelling, I’ve started to paint more serene subjects but kept the punky edge.
What projects or exhibitions have you been particularly excited to have been involved with and why?
I’ve been involved with a few projects this year – it’s been really great doing the Brandalism project where we have taken over more than 30 billboards across the UK as an anti-advertising campaign. It’s nice to do something that has a real message. I would love to do more projects like this, especially in the public space. The show at Curious Duke has been great too, we are now two weeks into the show and I’ve had some great reviews.
What is your take on the relationship between “fine art” and “street art”?
My work is stripped down to the basics and raw, it doesn’t fall into any one movement but touching on both fine art and street art. For me as I do work, I don’t think about where it fits into the art world, but come up against it when applying for galleries and projects, which some use as a negative. I am happy not fitting into the regular genre and will continue doing the work I like without thinking about it.
You generally produce work involving the human figure, what kind of qualities do you look for in the people you are painting?
I generally like to catch people off-guard when they don’t know they are being watched. I love trying to find the figure deep in thought and detached from the real world.
You said in a previous interview you came to prefer the hands-on approach to figurative art rather than the digital one, are you still interested in experimenting with your use of a variety of media?
Yeah, I love experimenting with paint. I’ve recently started to try new things and ways of using paint. Lots haven’t worked but I’ve taken away a few techniques that I’ve started using, like scraping the paint across the canvas. I’ve always done stencils in the past separate from my paintings, but in a few now I’ve combined them together.
What artists are influencing your current work?
There are so many, it’s great to get out to shows and see the work in real life rather than in books or online. I take techniques that I’ve seen and try them out to see if they work for me. It’s great to see live art too. I went to the Whitecross Street art party last week and that made me want to paint some more. I’d love to go to Upfest next year, that looks amazing.
You have done work subverting the format of the advertising billboard, have you got any plans in future to continue this subversive vein in your work?
I would love to continue doing projects that are subversive, it’s nice to do work that I believe in. I think I will be involved with more projects in the future, but will probably keep this just for projects.
What do you think painting’s role is in a world saturated with digital media?
For me painting is an original one-off, whereas digital can be reproduced. It’s something a bit more personal. You don’t get the same textures in a digital print. But there is some amazing digital work out there; I guess it all comes down to the work itself and personal preference. What do you feel is your most successful out of all the work that you have done, and why?
I think the most popular piece I have done is Aztec. I’ve had a lot of really positive feedback from people on the look and feel of the work. It’s one that had its challenges as I was painting … There may be at least three other versions of it underneath, but I enjoyed this one a lot. I did it not long after coming back from a skiing trip and was really relaxed whilst painting it; I think my mood often comes through in the piece. I’ve now only got 1 print of this left.
Where do you see your art progressing in future?
This year I want to do some live painting and get involved in more projects to collaborate with other artists. I would love to have some more shows in Europe this year, and to be able to do the Stroke Fair and Art on Snow.
For further information about Hannah Adamaszek, click here.
For further information on the Brandalism project , click here.