Playful bursts of colour pop out from Hannah Fawcett’s painted collages. Intrigued by psychoanalysis, Fawcett uses digital scans of her childhood sketchbooks and primary school paintings to create vibrant textured pieces.
She aims to “create a body of work which discusses and illustrates the significance of creativity within young minds”.
Fawcett is the first artist in our series exploring how Manchester School of Art students are reacting to COVID-19 and lockdown.
The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown has had a significant impact on how artists like Fawcett express themselves. “On the days leading up to the announcement that the School of Art [would] be closing, I had just begun a large scale 1.5×4 metre painting on Fabriano paper”, Fawcett said, “though I tried to get as much done as possible, I wasn’t able to [finish it]”.
“I have slowed down the painting side of my practice considerably”, she added, “and have continued to work on Photoshop creating collages and mocking up additional planned painting which can be done in the future”.
Fawcett believes that being unable to view pieces face-to-face can negatively impact an artist’s ability to convey ideas. “I think it completely depends on how the artist intends for the work to be viewed, but the process of visiting an exhibition […] is so different to viewing it on a screen – the immersive element which is felt when an artist’s work fills the space around you is vital”.
Nevertheless, artists are having to adapt to digital platforms in order to get their work seen. Instagram accounts such as @cottononmrc share artwork and online events from across Greater Manchester. Fawcett explains that “since the announcement of many art schools postponing their degree shows, an Instagram account called @thesocialdistanceartproject has allowed students from across the world submit works as an online exhibition”.
Fawcett has also had time to reflect on on her degree during lockdown. “My time at Manchester School of Art has completely turned my body of work and views on art upside-down”, she said, “it has given me great opportunities to meet other artists”.
However, Fawcett also talked about suffering from imposter syndrome due to the size of the city and feeling out of her depth. “I think there needs to be more content which shows the struggles and developments throughout art school, not just the finalised exhibitions or works ready for assessment”, she argues.
“Being able to read about other students’ processes and struggles to get where they are today would have really helped my anxiety and creative block, which I had throughout my time at Manchester School of Art”.
See more of Hannah Fawcett’s work and future exhibitions at @hsf.art
Ayo Okojie is an artist and writer for Salt Magazine. She is an English graduate who focuses on literature, theatre and art culture in her writing. Follow Ayo on Twitter @OkojieAyo.