Rebecca Hardaker is a bright, exciting new artist taking London by storm while residing at the Koppel Project. She caught the attention of Frank this summer, with her exhibition on Piccadilly, showcasing her pouty, fun, colourful female characters, always with a bit of a twist.
Rebecca, who are you, as an artist?
Rebecca Hardaker: I would describe myself as an artist who enjoys storytelling and like many artists; I have a compulsion to create.
Inspiration is such a fickle friend! How do you find yours and what happens if it ever eludes you?
Rebecca Hardaker: I love to sketch, carrying a sketchbook with me everywhere and it is through the process of drawing out my imagination that sparks further creations. Overthinking an idea can stunt a piece of work, so I try not to narrow my focus and instead allow for freedom of thought without internal criticism.
How does a female artist make her mark in an environment that has been traditionally dominated by men?
Rebecca Hardaker: Certainly men have had more prominence in art history. Now there is a growing desire for art to be representative of a broader range of voices and narratives. This has given rise to an exciting cohort of artists with unique voices.
It’s an exciting time to be a female artist – I am inspired and guided by the great female artists who paved the way; Rose Wylie, Betty Woodman, Helen Frankenthaler, Lee Krasner, Paula Rego, Alice Neel, Katherine Bradford and Chantal Joffe to name but a few.
Your characters are fun, colourful, and feel so authentic. Who are they? Where do they come from?
Rebecca Hardaker: I work from my subconscious. My characters come from my imagination and desire to give them a world for them to live within. Each world is scattered with motifs, they surround my characters and articulate a personal narrative. Through bold and bright colour, at the core of each work is a desire to imbue a joyous tone for the viewer to relish in.
You usually depict women – you just portrayed your first ‘boy’. Why women (or girls) so far and who is the ‘interloper’?
Rebecca Hardaker: I feel a sense of uncertainty in my answer to this question. There is little methodical thought upon embarking on a new piece of work and the figure that resides within it. Certainly, the female figure has played a prominent role in my narratives. Sometimes I wonder if the figures are a motif much like the phallic ceramic ornament, the ceramic clog, and the dancing pig. Perhaps the ‘interloper’ is the signal for a new motif within my work, a new narrative yet to be explored in my subconscious. I am eager to see how the narrative grows.
With the rise of social media, art has been somewhat democratised. How do you engage with your audience and what do you want them to see in your creations?
Rebecca Hardaker: Social media has allowed for a unique conversation to be had with the artist and their audience. I enjoy the dialogue that I have and it has played part in growing my practice. I hope that my audience enjoys seeing my work develop and see the joy that I have in creating each work.
How should someone pick the art that they bring into their homes? What art do you have in your home?
Rebecca Hardaker: An artist friend of mine always says ‘go large!’ (Thank you Emily Lazerwitz for this advice). I think when picking art for your home, follow your gut, don’t be afraid of what you enjoy. In my own home, I have artwork by friends of mine and postcards scattered everywhere from exhibitions and galleries I have visited. The postcards are very important to me as they carry the memory and emotion of seeing a work of art that has made its mark on me.
What would you like your legacy, as an artist, to be?
Rebecca Hardaker: Legacy! This is an overwhelming thought. I aspire to keep growing as an artist and I hope that my work plays a part in bringing continued storytelling and joy to the environment they reside in.
Rebecca’s next show:
Learn more about, and follow Rebecca here.
(Cover image: Rebecca and Frank’s Senior Adviser, Andreea Groenendijk-Deveau)