Sunday, 21 September 2008

Our focus is on Alison Hardcastle this week as we work on last minute bits and pieces for her solo show So Far So Good, which opens this Friday 26th September. We thought it might be nice for you all to share in an interview with did with Alison last month.

Q - Why the title So Far So Good?

A - It's a phrase that's been rattling around my head since I wrote it in my notebook some time last year. I've become slightly obsessed with funny little phrases, idioms and sayings - something which I started exploring when doing my BA and also on my MA. When one strikes me for some particular reason, I tend to write it down in my notebook. I go back through periodically and pick out ones which I think will work on cards, in books or in this case - a print.
As well as wanting to make it into a print, the phrase also struck me as a rather poignant motto for summing up me and where I'm at right now.

Q - We would love to know what makes you tick. Want to share any inspirations?

A - Words, phrases, idioms, saying, language, colours, patterns, structures and buildings, cities and also the countryside (where I grew up and now live again), things found and photographed at car boot sales and flea markets, signs, collections, type, personal experiences and finding ways of collecting, recording and documenting all of the above.

Q - You create a lot of artists' books; do you consider yourself a book artist first and foremost?

A - I always have difficulty pinpointing how I should describe myself when people ask. I end up gabbling about four different titles - Illustrator, Designer, Book Artist and Printmaker. That's not to say that I think I'm such an 'all rounder', more that I have trouble defining myself.
Book artist is on that list, but I don't think it's what I am first and foremost. I enjoy using the other elements of my work and manifesting them into book format, but I don't think I would ever want to concentrate only on making artists' books.

Q - We are really looking forward to seeing some prints from you. Has this been something you have wanted to work on for a while?

A - In short, yes. I've had a couple of years working on my hand screenprinted cards and books. I've been desperate for some time now to get back to printing images. It's such a different process and approach as well as an obviously different outcome. With my other work, its more like designing a 'product' but with prints there is a greater freedom which can be a little scary - but its good to scare yourself every once in a while!

Q - Any chance you can share your design process with us?

A - It usually starts somewhere in a notebook. I'm a scribbler - I write down every morsel of inspiration or idea which comes to me (where ever I am). I also take a lot of photographs of buildings, colours, signs, textures, patterns and anything which takes my fancy.

Once I get back to my studio, I work in indian ink, creating text and pattern, drawing and scanning things in. I then use photoshop to move things around, polish up drawing and create the layers I need for my screenprinting separations. Then it's off to my print room to see how it comes out.

Q - What does the future hold for Alison Hardcastle?

A - Very good question. Nice things I hope!

I would be happy with more of the same - continuing with what I'm doing and building up my cards, books and stationary into a bigger range. I've also become really interested in printed textiles and would like to try printing my own fabric or maybe wallpaper.

Now that I have started the ball rolling, I'd also aim to do more exhibitions and continue printing images. I feel I have only scratched the surface so far and I'd like to see how I could really push my work in this direction. Lots to do!

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