This month we came across a dynamic print by local linocut artist Hannah Forward, and quickly decided that she’d be the perfect person to ask to be our August cover artist. “I’m really attracted to topics that involve movement,” she says, “so as soon as you told me the theme was ‘wheels’ I thought, perfect, because that’s going to involve a lot of movement.”
“My work generally features a lot of people,” she says, “people interacting with each other, and doing things that they’d normally be doing in their free time. So I’ve done quite a few pieces of work on gigs, and I recently did one about people flying kites on a hilltop, inspired by the Kite Festival that they have at Stanmer Park… In Brighton people really value their downtime, and there are a lot of people coming together to do stuff.”
The print we came across featured a group of skateboarders gliding around an empty swimming pool, and it reminded us of a sunny afternoon down at the Level, but ‘wheels’ in Brighton gave Hannah plenty of options.
The first design she came up with featured a cyclist in the foreground, with the Viva masthead spelled out in the track behind him. “I was kind of happy with that design,” she says. “But then I was at work the next day and the roller-derby idea came into my head.” The new subject sparked another idea for a creative way of incorporating the text… “I don’t normally work with words, so I thought the best way of bringing a word into the piece was for it to be an integral part of the design. I was just thinking about the word ‘Viva’ and the straight lines of it – I thought, there’s something in that.”
Hannah got into printmaking almost by chance, while working at Lawrence Art Supplies in Hove. “I’d never done any printmaking before, but my manager saw that I did lots of drawing and he thought that printmaking, and linocut especially, would really suit the way that I work. So I thought, ‘ok, maybe I’ll give it a go’,” she says. So she took a six-week introductory course at bip-Art in Kemptown. “I absolutely loved it, and took to it straightaway. I got a press on eBay and just carried on at home.”
You’ll have a chance to see some of Hannah’s work at Brighton Print Fair, an event put on by Tutton & Young (the team behind MADE Brighton and Brighton Art Fair) next month. The fair takes place at the Phoenix Gallery from the 15th to the 24th of September, and entry is free. To see the full list of artists exhibiting, and the programme of talks and workshops, visit brightonartfair.co.uk.