Hannah Tilson



    Where are you answering these questions from Hannah?


    From my studio in Hoxton.



    What is your studio like? What are your artist necessities?


    My studio is filled with books, sketchbooks, postcards, images I have collected from places I visit, objects and art materials I’ve found and collected over the years. Whenever I travel, I stock up on materials (and ingredients) that I can’t find in the UK. I have some really great tiny pipettes, tape and coloured pencils from Tokyo that I haven’t been able to find elsewhere.


    What do you listen to while you work?



    I listen to audiobooks, music, or nothing at all, depending on what mood I am in or what stage of a piece I am at.


    What does an average working day look like to you?


    I get to the studio in the morning, make coffee and try not to rearrange the space. My brain loves to procrastinate by moving around furniture. At the beginning of a series of work, I will be priming board and paper, stretching canvases, carving new Lino patches, or, depending on the day, planning a class for the course I teach on Saturdays at the Royal Drawing School. On other days, I can just dive straight into painting.

  • Tell me a bit about your process, and how each work comes to life?



    Each work, or group of works, starts with a video. I film myself on my laptop, dressed up in patterns, moving around in a pattern-filled landscape, or 'pattern-scape,' and go through the videos, selecting movements and compositions that I want to work with. I then build up many thin layers of pigment. I work with raw pigments because they feel very fresh and exciting to me. I like working in a hands-on way, pressing lino patches into the painting with the option to build up an infinite number of layers of colour. Pigment allows me to control the translucency and opacity of the medium while maintaining the same intensity of colour. I enjoy the clash of patterns and the overload of information, as well as how my body and clothes blend into the background.



    How do you know when a work is finished?


    The question of all questions! This is hard to answer. I reach a point when I am painting, and my eyes start to buzz and vibrate from the patterns. At this stage, I know I am on the right track. But knowing when a piece is finished... It is a feeling... I have to sit with my work for a while before understanding when it's done.



    You work in a variety of different mediums, can you tell me a bit about your other mediums and how you use them?


    Working on a variety of surfaces allows the materials to react in their own individual ways. This keeps me alert and excited, and challenges how I handle my mediums. Layering has always been an important part of my work, whether it's building up translucent layers of pigment or working on glass and painting on different panes, overlaying them as I go. The pieces act almost like miniature sets, allowing for an open space between the front surface and the painting, concealing and revealing parts of the image.



    I have been painting on suits since my time at the Slade during my BA. For my solo exhibition 'Soft Cut,' currently on display at Cedric Bardawil in Soho (until October 21), I printed the same lino patches that I had carved and incorporated into the paintings in the show on a red suit. I wore this suit to the exhibition opening and book launch that Cedric hosted during Frieze week.

  • Could you please pick a piece of your work, and tell me a bit about it?


    The piece I would like to talk about is ‘Dressed in Borrowed Glories’. A large painting on paper, where I explore three patterned worlds that I have been investigating and creating over the last 5 years. On the right hand side, the viewer is taken through an oval window into the orange and blue chequered world of ‘Glamorous Approach’, my Slade degree show installation made in 2018. This oval could also be seen as a mirror reflecting the room in front of the figure, which the audience is standing in as they peer into the bright green image.



    The figure is encompassed in a bouffant tartan fabric, sitting on blue criss-cross tiles, referencing a floor which I installed in my solo exhibition ‘Swoosh’ at Well Projects in Margate, 2021. The tartan in the background is the same pattern found on the suit that I painted on for the opening, and the figure.. even though bright and dynamic in colour and form, camouflages and buzzes into the zingy pattern-scape. I use the word pattern-scape to describe my paintings because I view the undulating curves of the fabrics and forms as limbs and crevasses, and let the patterns take over my hand and body as I work.


    If you could be a single colour, what would you be?


    Green or yellow, either a bright or a pale earthy one.


    What do you do for fun?



    I love cooking and walking around London. I also sing and have played trombone since I was 7.


    Favourite historical female artist?


    Sonia Delauney


    Favourite current practicing female artists?


    Tschabalala Self

    Naudline Pierre

    Donna Huddleston

    Ella Kruglyanskaya

    Kyle Staver

    Anne Carney-Raines

    Lisa Brice


    Is there anything else you wanted to say?


    Thank you for having me here today!