hermione allsopp

Calcified Feelings, Hermione Allsopp, 2017

Sofulation, Hermione Allsopp, 2020

Objects are loaded with meaning for us all. They carry memory for individuals but are also symbols for society as whole - condensing complex meanings and histories in one single item. They are fundamental to my practice - and to that of Hermione Allsopp whose work using materials and items from the decorated interior I find fascinating and beguiling and very moving. Having admired her practice from afar (well, on instagram: @hermioneallsopp) I was delighted when she agreed to be interviewed.

Tell me about your work - what do you make and why? My work is based in sculpture and installation, but I also make collage, drawing and wall based work. I typically use objects that I find or get from charity shops, these are objects that not only have have agency, but bear witness to societal shifts and lifecycles. I am interested in the objects histories, how they refer to us, both in there relationship to a consumer culture and there physical bodily-ness. The work is intended to reflect on both the physical and the psychological, objects and space, insides and outsides and notions of desire

How did you come to be an artist? I always wanted to be an artist for as long as I can remember. Although it's been a winding road.

Can you tell me a bit more about your creative process? The work involves a process of making and un-making, building up or breaking down. I see the objects I use as materials/ structures and parts that are available for re-use. The repositioning and repurposing of things is transformative and allows a shift in perception. I also use materials from the constructed environment or decorated interior, often bringing them together with the objects I use.

When are you at your most creative? When I’ve found an object or process that I’m excited to work with and new spaces or places- things that offer a new possibility.

Do you work in a studio or do you make work in your home or somewhere else? I work in a studio mainly, but I have also worked site specifically on projects/ residencies

Do you use a sketchbook or anything else to capture your ideas / thoughts / develop your work? The work I make is very responsive to the materials I work with, each thing has its own property, I respond mainly to what is there in front of me. I like to delve into the structure of objects or work out how to connect them. I also think about there semiotic property, how they can be read differently, yet maintain something of what they were.

I do make collages as part of my on going process which act a bit like drawings. I take photographs of the things I make (as I experiment a lot things change) and use these together with other photos often of interior spaces or materials. These collages (as the plane is flat), allow me to play with the illusion of space, often creating objects which are spaces and vs.vs . They allow further exploration into the relationships between objects and space. Cutting into things, cutting up and cutting out are important aspects of my process as it produces the possibility for reconfiguring and restructuring. These processes importantly, set up the possibilities for perceiving thing differently.

What helps you to be productive? Time, space, Materials and opportunity….

If you sell your work how do you sell it? (eg online, via gallery etc) Generally I sell in a gallery, but I have tried Artist Support Pledge during the pandemic which means I see the possibility for more online sales. With my type of work I also work on funded projects.

How has lockdown influenced the way you work? Some of the places where I get materials are shut so I am generally using things that I already have collected or things people give me. Its positive in that way, I’ve had a big clear up/out too. But its also strange. I feel very fortunate that I haven’t had too bad an experience when there has been a lot of stress or suffering for others.

What else are you juggling in your life and what helps you manage your time? I have been juggling part time work, childcare, freelance gallery education and my practice, but lockdown, and changes just prior to it have meant that I’m not committed to so much. This has given me time and space to develop work. Its been restrictive socially, but expansive in terms of time to devote to my work.

Is there anything that you do to support your practice that you consider to be an important factor in your success? I have been part of networking groups that have been useful and interesting. Finding ways to keep connected to an arts community is important. In lockdown I have met regularly via zoom with a couple of other artists which has been very supportive. We don’t live near each other so it wouldn’t have happened otherwise. That has been a very positive thing. I’ve enjoyed accessing talks and podcasts also, things that I perhaps wouldn’t have got to physically.

Where do you get your inspiration from? The things and spaces around me. Materials. Processes. The political and economic climate. Histories of art. The human condition. Seeing exhibitions. People. Life. Stuff.

Are there any creatives / others whose work you particularly admire? Picasso is a first love. A friends mother who was an artist took me and her to the Hayward Picasso exhibition in 1981, it blew my child mind.

Eva Hesse, Franz west, Phyllida Barlow, Munch, Mike Kelly, Louise Bourgois. Lynda Benglis, Mike Nelson, Buckminster Fuller, and Margaret Atwood, to name a few more. I’m currently reading about Harmony Hammond ….

Where can people find out more about your work? www.hermioneallsopp.com. Insta. @hermioneallsopp