Young Masters Interview with Felicity Hammond

Felicity Hammond is an artist working primarily in installation and photography. She is a recent graduate from the Royal College of Art (2014). She tells us more about her work, which will be shown as part of the forthcoming exhibition ‘Young Masters: Dialogues’ at Sphinx Fine Art, 12 – 24 October 2015.

What most interests you about the concept of Young Masters?
My work, although set in the context of a contemporary landscape, refers to the interplay between past and present, and therefore I am really interested in this also being mirrored in the curation of the Young Masters show.

Can you explain to us what your work is about and tell us more about the work you will be showing at Sphinx Fine Art in October?
I will be showing a photographic collage which is titled ‘Restore to Factory Settings.’ In this work, the urban landscape has been dismembered, whilst at the same time has gone through a process of careful reconstruction. It explores the interplay between the past and the present to imagine future potentialities, exploring dystopian visions through engaging in the complexity of restoration, longing, and homesickness. The unattainability of the past is engulfed by the materiality of the structure of the ruin, where human intervention appears to have been reabsorbed into the landscape. This work stands for both progression and error, and its relationship with natural temporality.

Which artist/s are you most inspired by?
I saw a collection of Peter Paul Rubens’ etchings at the Grand Palais just before I started working on ‘Restore to Factory Settings’. Although I had studied his works many times throughout my art education, I was particularly struck this time by the violence in the folds of flesh in the human form – perhaps this time seeing the work in monochrome changed my reading. The work that I make contains a duality as it is explores both ruin and construction, and therefore is concerned with allegory. It is the allegorical nature of my work which invokes inspiration from Rubens, and many other baroque artists of this time. In my work, the folds of the tarpaulin refer to the folds in the cloth, and boulders and discarded building material is the flesh.

Can you tell us something about your background?
My interest in the decaying industrial landscape stems from my family history in East London, where my father and grandfather worked in factories which no longer exist. The rise in technology impacted hugely on their work, hence the digital blue that I employ in my photographs. The blue stands for both technological error and the blueprint of future planning. Now in place of where my family once lived and worked, stands construction sites housed by billboards of computer rendered images pertaining to a better life and a ‘luxury’ lifestyle.

What inspired you to become an artist?
It was a natural progression from my education, (firstly my BA at Cheltenham School of Art and then my MA at the Royal College of Art), where I studied the subject that I love. I continue to make things as a way of commenting on the world around me.

If you weren’t an artist what would you be?
I love working in education, and I enjoy teaching alongside my art practice. I will always continue to do this.

What is your greatest achievement as an artist to date?
I am very excited to have been asked to show ‘Restore to Factory Settings’ in a group show at the Lowry Museum in Winter 2015/2016.

What are your plans for the future?
I try not to plan to far ahead – at the moment I am living and working in north east London (a landscape which I spend a lot of my time photographing). I plan to continue making photographic collages, and also to keep working on my newer photo sculptural works.

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