30 Oct 2010

Artist 39: Hazel Critchley

A happy Illustration Rally hello to Hazel Critchley. Hazel, living in the north by the coast seems to trap her environment within her work and as she takes influence from the world around her and from her foreign travels to Finland and Poland her work takes on the character of the place and yet is composed with striking originality. She works on a lightbox happily scratching away dark and brooding images in a process resembling intaglio print but with a level of control tailored down to each individual scratch her work becomes a living thing produced in a way that has the character of folk art and the lithe sensuousness of art nouveau. she combines the work together digitally producing a very strong tonal composition that is backed up by a real juxtaposition of colours that seem to hang across the eye and play to the delicate yet bold figures. Her work has a raw yet enlightened touch, which leaves the viewer satisfied yet intrigued. Great work from a fabulous illustrator, read about her here.

Who are you:
Hello i'm Hazel, a freelance illustrator. I live near the seaside town of Southport. Some call it the Paris of the north, others a free range nursing home! I currently have a studio in Liverpool which I spend most of my days in. When i'm not there i'll be on the beach with my dog or in a cafe.

What do you do:
For some reason I find it alot easier to scratch into a black surface than draw onto a white piece of paper. Though later on in the drawing when doing a background, I will work on white paper and combine them digitally. I draw alot of people, many of whom are ladies. I keep trying to draw clothed people, but they always end up taking something off! Maybe a collaboration is needed to clothe them.

How did you start:
My Grandad wanted me to enter into the family business which would have meant nine to five, office, numbers kind of job. I decided to do what I love, drawing. At first he would say that I could still change courses from illustration to accountancy, but now he loves what I do and even passes me the arts section from the financial times. I would say that the way my work looks now started during my year studying in Poland and Finland. Both of these countries and their people had a great impact on my life and work. Poland allowed me to get back to traditional techniques, whilst experimenting with new ones in Finland.

A Personal statement about you or your work:
I love unique thinkers and learning new things. I think I am inspired to work by things I see and experience, rather than it directly influencing my work. One of my teachers asked me if I was in a dark place whilst creating my work, I said that I was very happy that day. Though you can't help be anything but happy when staring into a lightbox for hours on end, it's similar to what they would prescribe for somebody with seasonal affective disorder. It's comforting to know that even if my work is sometimes dark I won't be.

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