An Artist's Opinion - In Conversation with Artist Eliza Hopewell
Full of life, energy, charisma and an epic fashion sense, in walked Eliza Hopewell to our studio: artist, incredible human being and style muse. From all things art, culture, fashion and more we spent an afternoon diving into the wonderful world of Eliza.
How would you introduce yourself in three sentences?
Loud artist from South East London. Loves to talk openly and without boundaries about emotions, politics, and art. Likes poetry, fruit, and well-cut suits! And is a bit clumsy.
When did you first come into exploring your creativity?
As early as I can remember. My Grandpa was an artist and had a studio in his house. As young as two, I would be in there for hours on end drawing what I called ‘meter girls’, where I would get my grandpa to measure out a meter long piece of paper and I’d fill it end to end with a drawing of a girl. They all wore different clothes, had different hairstyles, and different props. There were absolutely tons of them! I still have some.
Let’s talk about your painting! (Which is absolutely incredible.) What is that process for you? Where did the journey start and where is it going?
It’s complicated, I started painting on plates because I needed money and have always found painting easy, I thought I could try my hand at starting a craft business and it took off incredibly fast. Laura Bailey was one of my first customers (friend of a friend’s mother’s friend I think was the connection) and she put me in Vogue very early on. After that I couldn’t keep up with the orders, for two years I worked 12 hours a day, 6 days a week. I made so many commission works I grew to find them really uninspiring. A year ago I stopped taking commission jobs to focus on my own work and began to expand- carrying on with the plates but also painting tiles, murals in people’s houses, etc. My partner is a sculptor and carpenter and we’ve made a few tiled tables together and have also just bought a house! So our plan for the future is to launch a kind of artist’s home wear brand where we make everything ourselves (seeing as we’re already making everything for our own flat- economize your own life eh!).
There is such an intersection between the worlds of art and fashion. What have been your experiences with this? Do you have a fashion icon or sense of inspiration, or do you treat your creativity as a separate entity to your fashion?
I find people really inspiring, and clothes can be an incredible pathway to strength and an amazing way to tell people who you are. My style has always been quite late 1960s - early 1970s office worker in Paris. I somehow always manage to look like I’m going to work in an office in the 70s! I do love 60s icons like Francoise Hardy and Audrey Hepburn. But also suits! Jarvis Cocker and Jaques Dutronc are big fashion inspirations for me.
What are your fashion go-to’s and styling tips?
Big pointy collars, long coats and heels or leather boots! A good lip liner and sticky blusher go a long way.
Who are your sources of inspiration? What do painting and creativity mean to you, and what would you like to evoke in others?
My inspirations come from far and wide! I love Jonathan Richman - a musician whose candidness, vulnerability, and joy for the small things in life I find really inspiring. Matisse is a big inspiration for me and I find similar qualities in his work. I’m a very big fan of the painter Lisa Brice and the filmmakers Jim Jarmusch and Aki Karusmaki too! I could go on - I’m a huge fangirl for lots of people! Creativity for me is a necessity. Painting is one avenue through which I express it but for me, it’s not about the medium. The medium can be anything, but true creativity is like having an amazing conversation. It’s a form of communication between the artist and the audience - making an image is just something I do when words can’t do the job for what I mean! I want other people to feel strength, joy, and sometimes pain from my work. Most of all I want people to laugh and find humour in my work because humour is the best connector and equalizer we have as humans!
What has been your biggest takeaway from 2020? How has this year shaped you and the things you do?
This year has been really hard for me... My mum died at the end of 2019 and we were very close. Grieving and being inside and not working much due to covid has made 2020 a year of big sadness for me. But I’ve learned a lot from having such sadness in my life - mainly that it’s okay to be sad. We live in a world where we are always trying to fix and solve things but sitting with and feeling sadness, especially when it’s because of a particular circumstance, is really helpful and important. It helps you to feel and appreciate happiness when it comes to! This year has made me excited for the rest of the years in my life!
If someone asked you to give a person who is just about to move into London some advice, what would you tell them?
Embrace the madness. You have to work hard here and play hard to sustain the work ethic! Parks and country walks nearby are your friend, don’t be afraid to work on a hangover & cook from home to save money. South East London is the best area… and maybe get a cat
Meeting Eliza took me back to a teenage version of myself sitting in an art history class, it felt as if I had come into contact with the type of person I would study. Not only a humble and utterly genuine person, but a pearl of wisdom enveloped into a true creative. A blessing to chat and learn more about the creative tickings of her mind.
Like what you've read? Share it with your community!