Hannah Tilson: Miss Prints

Hannah Tilson

Artwork’s Title: Miss Prints

Materials Used: Homemade paint on paper

Studio Based: London

Hannah Tilson, Miss Prints, homemade paint on paper, 2020, 80 x 75 cm

Can you tell us about the process of making your work?

The way in which I make my work is always changing and growing, I find myself being most excited/driven by my work when I am pushing myself out of my comfort zone and disrupting my own ideas. I tend to work from photographs and drawings, in the first lockdown I found myself away from my world that I was used to drawing and making work in and had to seek inspiration from elsewhere. I began making theatrical sets in my room, hanging patterned fabrics, lighting them and painting self portraits of myself sitting within them.

How would you define your work in a few words (ideally in 3 words)?

Pattern, colour, entanglement.

How did you come up with this painting idea of “Miss Print“? Is there any story behind this work?

This is one of my first paintings I made using my homemade paint. Initially I hadn’t planned for it to be a monochromatic work but I found myself getting taken away by the blue and couldn’t bring myself to add any other colours into it. This is what I enjoy so much about making my own paint, the colours feel so raw and pure and I am able to be in control of the translucency and opacity of the medium while keeping the same intensity of colour. I want the works to be ambiguous, but with something left for you to hold onto/live in. I am thinking about out-of-synch misprints, camouflage and my body as a patterned landscape.

Are specific artworks created by random experiments in your studio or do you always come up with a particular concept or narrative in the very beginning?

I keep on returning to an Eileen Cooper RA and Rachel Jones ‘In Conversation’ lecture I heard online, as part of the Royal Drawing School’s ‘Creative Conversations’ series.

They state ‘The Magic comes out of disaster’, mentioning the moment when something goes wrong in one of your pieces, but in this moment of frustration and disaster you suddenly have nothing to lose and you have the freedom to push your work into a fresh space. An important part of my making process is having the freedom to experiment and play. Often the most exciting works come when you’ve taken a risk and a piece has taken an unexpected turn.

Is there any particular theme that utterly triggers you to engage your art with?

I am drawn to colour and pattern. At the moment I am making pattern self portraits, viewing my body and the pattern I have encompassed myself in as a landscape, a ‘patternscape’.

Large or small scale canvases dilemma; are there any kind of standards that drive you to decide which surface length is better fitted for your final painting visualisations?

For the last year and a half I have been studying at the Royal Drawing School and have been working predominantly on paper so I am excited to start working on canvas again! I just made my smallest drawing, a 4.6 x 5.8cm drawing for All Mouth Galleries ‘Tiny Auction’ which will open online, on the 12th of May. I really enjoyed scaling my work down so dramatically. My brain needs multiple different sources of stimulation to tick and I think in many different mediums, being a musician as well as a painter/drawer, I also embroider and want to work more with textiles!

What would be the best way to exhibit your work?

At the moment I am just really excited to exhibit my work in real life, in a real space for people to see in person! Obviously it has been impossible to go visit galleries during the lockdowns and I am grateful to have been able to share works online and take part in online exhibitions but it is a whole different experience seeing something in the flesh.

Can you mention any artists you, lately or generally, take inspiration from?

Lorenzo Monaco, Toyin Ojih Odutola, Naudline Pierre, Donna Huddleston, Nell Brookfield, Ella Kruglyanskaya.

Do you ever wonder if additional work was needed, when an artwork’s making process is finished?

In my heart I know when a piece is done, this is a hard feeling to describe! Sometimes it can feel like putting the final piece in a jigsaw and other times I have to hide the work away for a few weeks and come back to it, to see if that feeling is there. 

What about the place where you work? What’s your studio space look like?

I just moved into a new studio in Stoke Newington with my friend Tezz Kamoen, we are sharing a space in the back of a dressmaking factory. We need to build a few more walls as we are currently slap bang in the middle of the pattern cutting workshop!

Which are your plans for the near future?

I am about to finish studying on a scholarship programme at the Royal Drawing School in London. We have three exhibitions organised by the School opening in May/June. There will be one at Christies, one in the school’s gallery in Shoreditch and an open studios exhibition too. I want to spend some time researching more into the pigments I am working with so will be focusing on that, while settling into my new studio!

Additional Images

Hannah Tilson, MesMEric Misprint, 80 x 55cm, homemade paint on paper, 2020
Hannah Tilson working in her studio, 2021
Hannah Tilson, Whirlwind, 2020, homemade paint, 42 x 42.5 cm



All images courtesy of the artist

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