An Interview with Alice Hartley
We discovered the work of London-based artist Alice Hartley from one of our favorite online art publications - Floorr Magazine. A recent graduate from the prestigious Royal College of Art, Alice often uses monoprinting processes to create billboard-sized pieces that re-contextualize quotidian phrases and deliver them with a sense of urgency or announcement. Her gestural approach to printing puts her own physicality at odds with the very large scale of her work and that tension is most compelling. Alice kindly answered our questions below and for those that want to have a further look at her work and apparel pieces she also creates, be sure to check out no-land.net
When did you start printing?
I guess I learnt the basics whilst doing my Art Foundation, which was a bridge between finishing school and going onto University. We did a lot of the basics, I felt comfortable in the medium, it was a great way to emphasise my drawing.
And then when I went on to do my BA at Kingston University I had two fantastic tutors (Mark Harris and Rebecca Davis) who saw my potential in the print rooms, and encouraged me to take it to the next level in experimentation and scale, it was them who suggested that I apply to do print at the Royal College of Art.
Where do you make your work? Home studio? Shared print space?
I make pretty much all my work in my own studio, most of my work is mono screen- prints, which is straight forward once you’ve got the set up.
I’ve recently moved my studio to the countryside in Hampshire in the South of England, for the time being. I previously had a studio in East London but I just didn’t have enough space for what I could afford, I didn’t want to compromise the scale of my work.
It’s such a luxury having a big space to myself now, I’m up and down from London a lot, it’s not ideal, but it’s the best option for my practice for the time being.
I am looking to do more work with print studio’s and other printers as my work develops, I see it taking a bit more of a technical turn. There are some fantastic print spaces in London, I used Sonsoles in Peckham a lot, they’re great for open access, I also did some printing at Coriander Print Studio, they’re large format screens are insane! It was amazing monoprinting on screens that big.
Hoping get into more print studios this year and push my printing further, it would be good to share some knowledge and take the work to the next level.
How do you see your print background informing your more expanded practice?
It has given me confidence in my mark. Because of the way I print, I must allow myself to apply the ink onto the silkscreen without complete knowledge and control of the outcome, but also in a way I am totally in control. My print work informs the way I paint and draw, to be quick and instinctive in the mark, but also to meditate and to take time in the use of text and language, the use of negative space as well as how to use scale in an effective way.
I love screen-printing because it allows me to create this world that suggests depth, you can be bold and make something that shouts something direct, as well as using layers or a negative shape to hide and give suggestion. All whilst keeping this totally flat finish.
It makes you consider the mark a lot more, and that can be applied to your whole practice.
It also makes you think about where you can see your work, printing allows your work to sit in all sorts of environments.
Who would you love to collaborate with?
I’d love to make more work that’s made specifically to exhibit with sculpture, I have no one especially in mind, but I love the idea of having heavy absorbing sculptures and then walking around to see a big wall full with printed texture as a backdrop, almost like a map.
And as I said- I’d love to collaborate with more specialized print studios, it would be great to travel with this. (If anyone’s up for it, hit me up! Ha.)
Where are some of your favorite spaces in London for contemporary art or design?
It’s hard to say, we’re rather spoilt in London, the Rothko room at the Tate Modern maybe my favorite place to have a sit and a think.
The Barbican is a fantastic space; I could easily spend the whole day there.
Oh and Bold Tendencies in Peckham, they’ve made something really magical with this multi-story car park, it would be great to see more spaces in London used in this way, I have a sad feeling that we won’t though.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’ve been working on a new collection of monoprints that will available on my new online store, they’re quite different, I’ve had a lot of fun making them, as well as some fresh new editions, there will be some new text pieces, which I’m excited for people to see. It should be up in the next month, watch this space!
I’m making a billboard to sit outside Kingsgate Workshops in North London in September, they’re a great team to work with, and I’m working on a new text wall installation piece that will be shown with New Contemporaries at Manchester Contemporary, and then a few group shows as well.