I am glad to announce that I have a lovely artist to present to you in my first ‘Aldred’s Artists’ blog post. I first met Hannah on that awkward first day of University and straight away I was in awe of her line work and beautiful typography. Eight years on and an Illustration degree under our belts I still see this lady as one of my fellow illustrators willing to give honest constructive criticism, share ideas and inspire one another in our projects. Hannah is an amazing Illustrator able to take on any task given to her and always full of inspiration. I would recommend her for her unique use of type and exquisite use of colours. Anyways let’s move on and hear Brownie herself.
Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Hannah Brown, I’m an artist and illustrator from the West Midlands. My work is a mix of typography, painting, line work and collage, which covers a lot of different themes.
What’s your background?
I grew up in the Midlands and was always interested in art – I was encouraged by my family to continue to create, despite my mother having no idea where my artistic interest or capabilities had spawned from. I studied on a foundation diploma in art and design in Stourbridge, and continued on to study a BA in illustration at University College Falmouth, where I began to explore my style, inspirations and techniques.
Why do you do what you do? What inspired you?
I often see problems and think of a different perspective on how to solve them. I love to create, whether that is on paper, using my camera or any other techniques. I was constantly drawing or painting when I was young – I have memories of drawing characters from books I was reading, and creating characters inspired by my family members while drawing with my cousins at get-togethers. After having a strong creative block recently I am looking out again at the world and finding new inspirations from my life now. I have always loved film, which is a strong influence on my life, and I have always had a keen interest in museums and galleries.
I believe that everyone has so much to give but not everyone has yet discovered their own way to express it – I’ve come to a point again where my reason for working is simply to express myself, my ideas and my opinions.
How do you work?
My college days taught me to make extensive notes, but not to get so bogged down in those notes that you lose sight of the outcome. I like to put a lot of ideas down and sketch layouts, then put down different mark making techniques, whether that be collage, paint, ink or pencil. I then put those together and begin to compose an output from my ideas.
What work do you most enjoying doing?
I love hand lettering, line drawing and painting. As my background is more in illustration than graphic design, my hand lettering has a sort of wonky and imprecise quality that I often find frustrating but when I see it in the final outcome it suits the rest of my work.
What themes do you pursue?
My work has a mixture of themes, depending on what I am working on at the time. I love nostalgia, victorian styles and kitsch. I often find myself painting similar subjects – faces, food, objects, lettering.
Who is your favourite artist or artists?
I have various influences in fine art that I often to go. I love the Pre-Raphaelites, particularly Rossetti purely for the attention to detail and beauty of his work. I am drawn to a lot of artistic styles that are lauded for their beauty just as much as for their meaning – Botticelli being another I am a huge fan of. I also love surrealism, particularly Dali – his paintings, drawings and his contributions to film, particularly his work with Luis Bunuel. The surrealist in me is drawn also to Alice in Wonderland, and any artist who has tackled this most peculiar story is an influence to me. I also admire any artist that can produce perfect typefaces by hand, as this skill is a constant aspiration for me.
Describe a real-life situation that inspired you?
It may sound cliche but I often see inspiration in life every day – I recently took a trip to the outdoor markets in Birmingham on a bright sunny day, and the bold colours of the fruits and fabrics mixed with the sounds of the birds chirping in the rafters of the stalls was really inspiring.
What makes you angry?
Apathy and hypocrisy. I get frustrated when I see people making what are the perceived wrong decisions, but then I anger myself when I don’t see my own mistakes – “I give myself good advice but I very seldom follow it”! Also, on a daily basis I witness the incredible impatience of today’s society of instant gratification, and I wish that people would slow down and appreciate what is around them while they wait.
What is your dream project?
I am torn between two – one of the illustrator’s most cliche project choices, my own version of Alice in Wonderland (as I am such a fan of it) or an illustrated recipe book as I really love to bake when I get the time and I love painting food.
Favourite or most inspirational place?
I always feel inspiration when I am in museums, and one of my favourite is the BM&AG in Birmingham. Their collection of Pre-Raphaelites is divine and plentiful. I’m also always inspired whenever I visit Cornwall as it’s the place I studied, and it is simply beautiful.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Once when I was at university, I was told by a harsh critic “you’re good, you’re just not great”. For a long time I felt defeated by this, and it has come to me lately that what he meant was – you have the capacity to be great if you just keep trying.
Do you have any projects upcoming or gone that you would like to tell us about?
I am going to be starting a new blog – I had a blog during and for the first year after I left uni, which ended up becoming defunct and irrelevant. I am hoping that my new blog will be a space where I can continue to show new work, focusing on my passions and inspirations. I intend for it to be a mixture of my artwork and writing.
Tell us something about you that people don’t know about?
I always add my middle initial of F into my name on my artwork because I think my name is incredibly boring and common (even though my first name is a palindrome which I suppose is sort of interesting) and I am constantly frustrated when I attempt to illustrate my name as the letters look awkward together in my eyes.
If you would like to feature in ‘Aldred’s Artists’ please don’t hesitate to email me on firstname.lastname@example.org or contact me on the links below.