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                                                      In the studio with Kitty Hillier - an article for Studio 1850




A Saturday ago, I walked the short distance from my house in Falmouth to the studio of Kitty Hillier – a former dairy, with its double frontage offering a constantly changing marvel of process & life of an artist at work.

                                                                   A piece by Martha Holmes



Since school, I have been massively into art – the art room was a bit of a retreat, spending hours perfecting sketchbooks. I remember at school mixing sand into paint and collaging bits of wood onto the surface – having grown up in the countryside I was always allowed to be wild and run free, exploring the landscape and using what was around me – that has definitely followed into the way I use materials in my work today. Straight from sixth form I came to Falmouth to study an art foundation, which was brilliant at giving me an insight into all sorts of media, techniques and materials. I was drawn to works by Rauschenberg and Tàpies – I just love those European walls with peeling posters – it’s the layers and depth to the works, almost installation in form, that I find myself always being fascinated by. Experimenting with collage, wax, oily enamels and stencilling layers became my preoccupation on foundation.

My fine art degree at Bath allowed me to continue this experimentation – I always knew painting would form the base to my work, and Bath gave me the platform to push this, working with a number of brilliant tutors, some being celebrated abstract painters themselves. My first year at Bath was similar in nature to the Foundation, they really encouraged exploration of materials and play within your practice, allowing for mistakes and new routes to be discovered, and also finding those other artists who sit within your sphere of work. Plywood became a key material – it offered that support to scratch into and work back the layers, something that canvas doesn’t allow.

During my second year at Bath, I came across the work of DJ Simpson, who uses a router to map doodle forms into plywood – I began exploring this as a tool and since then really I've, have been obsessed with the opportunity ply offers as a material. I’ve tried other types of wood – there is a beautiful piece of walnut in the corner over there, however you just don’t get the same layers – and that is the part I find so interesting. You can use such a variety of tools to alter the surface, the opportunities are so varied. There is something a little unhinged about creating a painting and then making these marks on top, to be obliterating parts of it with a chisel! I think that feeling that you can push your work without fearing the outcome is important – I try to record it at every stage, especially that minimal composition that the work begins as. Sometimes you just know when a work is finished and resolved, other times I have to live with them for a bit and keep coming back to them. Seeing them up on the wall together as a collective really helps.

Full interview here -

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