REBECCA HURN is the young artist behind our latest story illustrations. From UCA classes to the precise art of collage, Art Deco jazz nightclubs to the evergreen charm of London town, here is the fifth ON! Storie Q&A, but with a different angle: we discussed what an artist in training sees, feels and does.
Where are you writing from?
I am writing from Sutton, Surrey in the UK.
How does your city inspire you?
My hometown of Sutton is part of London and it is this city that inspires me in many ways. Museums such as the V&A and the British Museum show different artists and relics from around the world and how their cultures have now come to influence us in today’s society. But it’s also the little things in my city that inspire me: the crowds of people bustling about on crisp early mornings going to their destinations, the sounds of cars and the famous red buses trying to move on busy roads. The famous landmarks such as the London Eye and the feeling of being in one of those slow moving pods, as though times slowly comes to a stop. Even the Tower of London that, still holding many stories of terror and fear, never stops fascinating me.
How would you describe the process of finding your own style?
Slow but feel like I have finally found myself after years of practice, like a self-discovering journey. Even now, I am still learning new things. It never stops and I love that. Even when I’m 80-years-old, I’ll still be practicing and perfecting, but also learning new techniques that I have never tried before.
Which are your major sources of inspiration?
They vary wildly! Silly comics found in newspapers or Beano comics are good examples.
Tattooing is also a close link, the similar style of heavy and fine lines. Collage is a heavy influence that may be surprising, but I just love the use of building an image of materials that can be found in anyone’s home. Even though people think it’s really easy, it’s actually hard to perfect and harder to make an art piece.
Three graphic artists/illustrators that today you think are doing a great job.
Annita Maslov is a big one for me, her creations of Gothic inspired portraits of women’s faces with nature and/or animals is so inspiring. Another one is Jethro Wood: his style gives a cartoon and realistic mix to his tattoo designs that I feel is a fresh look on neo-traditional. Lastly has to be Joseph Cornell: even though he’s not known for being an illustrator, his work has a different aspect on surrealism and collage. Making 3D boxes that could be used by children as if they were little games.
If you could go back in time, which century would you like to go back to? Is it a time that also influences your art?
I would love to go back to the Roaring 20’s! Even though it doesn’t really influence my art, I love the busy life of people in that time as well as the Art Deco theme that was highly fashionable, as well as the outfits worn day and night by the women of those years. The sophisticated look in the day and the swinger’s dresses that you can dance in all night in an underground Art Deco jazz nightclub are just beautiful.
Which technique that you have experimented with interested you the most and why?
It would have to be collage. As I have said before, people think it’s easy to rip up magazines, grab beads or small objects and with some glue and tape throw them all together on a piece of paper; and they think they have created the next DADA work. But it’s not like that, it is hard. It’s difficult to practice and try out with so many materials, and it’s harder to figure out where the objects you have collected have got to go. But the hardest bit is to create an art piece after years of practice and many failed attempts. I have also learnt recently about the picture plane: collage effects it because it has so many layers, so that when looking at a collage work it does not really flow.
What do you like to do when you’re not studying/working?
I love to watch films, they have a big influence on me. Every free moment I get I watch something I’ve never seen or haven’t heard about before. I also love to read, play games and, I know its girl answer, but I love to shop. Retail therapy is always good for me.
Do you have a motto that always cheers you up and keeps you going?
“If you’re going through hell, keep going” – Winston Churchill.
You are now at UCA (University for the Creative Arts). What kind of valuable experience would you like to leave with the most (A lesson you want to learn that you think will be fundamental for your future artistic career and you think it is better not to miss)?
I want to leave with two things. One, making the most of my social life, because staying inside after a day at university or never meeting up with friends would be a bad choice, as I would never get to experience the nightlife for myself and seeing my country and city in a whole new perspective. Two, learning all the techniques I can and trying them out at least once, because I may never know if I’m good at a particular technique if I don’t try it and where it will take me in life.