Inspired by the human form, Hector’s abstracted illustrations showcase the beauty of imperfection. Check out his story below.
Say hello to Hector:
Where are you from? Where have you been?
I was born and raised in West Sussex, England but have spent the last five years studying and working in Cornwall. Travelled extensively throughout Europe, with Poland and Norway being the highlights. I have also been lucky enough to travel further afield, gallivanting through Australia, North America, China, Canada and Egypt to name a few!
What’s your favorite place in the world?
This is really tough, as I’m torn between two, the Isle of Skye and Norway! On my trips to Skye, I quickly fell in love with the majestic, imposing beauty of the island, from the ascent to Old Man Storr, all the way down to the sea and the Western Isles beyond. Norway was certainly more wild and untamed, and I was camping and travelling there as winter was starting to creep in. The fjords and summits of the mountains were crowned and shrouded in fog and snow, giving the landscape of this beautiful country a sense of enigmatic mystery. It was an incredible privilege to be out in the wild and amongst it all.
What is your dream project?
To work with a fashion house or in conjunction with a fashion show.
For your figure work, do you draw from life or photographs?
When I was studying at university, we had ample opportunities to draw from life, with classes running throughout the semesters. After leaving, I was limited to how many life drawing classes with live models I could sit in on, so I now often use online resources which have models posing as they would in a life drawing class.
How do you find your inspiration?
I find a lot of inspiration in the works of the Baroque painters and the tenebrists or tenebrosi (“shadowists”) of the High Renaissance. Their understanding and use of chiaroscuro, light and shadow, allowed them to inject drama and intensity into each painting – the stark light used to spotlight the figures sitting jarringly against the deep, brooding shadows of the backdrops. This dramatization and latent energy invoked within the pieces is something that I aspire to capture in my work. Caravaggio and Artemisia Gentileschi were two of the progenitors of this movement and their work is a constant touchstone and reference for me and my work.
What is your background?
I have a BA(Hons) degree in Illustration from Falmouth University, Cornwall.
What mediums do you work with most frequently?
My figure drawings and portraiture work is primarily done in charcoal. I’ve found that as these two disciplines are arguably humanity’s most primitive and ancient forms of artistic expression, I had to make sure that when approaching my work, I was working with a medium suitable for the discourse I was hoping to engage with. Charcoal, being used for thousands of years, played a pivotal role in the development of art and human culture and expression. It was the obvious choice. Not only was it lending itself to the style that I was working in (the work often shifting between frenetic, gestural mark making and movement, with details pulled out to stylized shapes and form), but it also entrenched the work within this history and culture of human artistic expression.
Out of your works, which three are you most proud of?
These works represent a real shift, stylistically, for me away from my more delicate, fragile line drawings that I often worked in, and into more uncertain and abstracted territory. I was able to work in a confident and composed fashion, happy in my own work and happy in a style that I enjoyed, which allowed my drawings to flourish. Portraiture has always been daunting to me, with much of my figure drawings being truncated and awkward without heads, yet in this style, I now feel comfortable and confident exploring the whole human form.
What was the most memorable response to your work?
I think the most memorable response to my work was being picked by Creative Review and JC Decaux as one of 20 graduates as a part of their Talent Spotting initiative. Twenty students were chosen upon graduation, from all of the creative institutes within the UK to show their work nationwide. The very idea that I had been chosen was surreal and to have my work displayed across the country was incredible. People were seeing and connecting with my work in a way that I never thought possible, people I may never have been able to connect with before were getting in touch with me about my work. It was such a wonderful opportunity. I have to thank all those at Creative Review and JC Decaux for making it happen as my work has only gone on from strength to strength. This was a massive confidence boost for myself and my work, and instilled in me the drive to make my passion my living.
What themes do you explore in your work?
I think my figure and portraiture work explores a theme I first engaged with in my dissertation in the final year of university – this idea that the human condition has changed, becoming more secular and introspective and human visual culture had followed suit, itself being intrinsically tied to the former. My work is predominantly inspired by the postmodernist human condition, form and figure, and motivated to explore the vulnerability of man. It is an attempt to consolidate a belief in the beauty of imperfection and abstraction, forcing us to look at figure and form, however contorted or unkind, as definitively human.
What challenges do you face in your work currently?
Striking a balance between pushing a piece of work on or letting it lay rough and unfinished. I often stifle pieces by overworking them, bemoaning the fact I drew that line here or kept working into the drawing there. I have found as my drawing style has matured, I have learnt to embrace these imperfections and work them into the piece, rather than rubbing them back or removing them altogether. These sporadic and tentative gestural marks beautifully complement the areas of my drawings and paintings that I’ve worked into and pushed on.
For anyone that wants to get in touch with Hector, here’s some contact information:
Hector, thank you for sharing your story with us! 🙂
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