In­sid­ers Your ul­ti­mate guide to where to go and what to do in Au­gust

Han­nah Dyson’s mag­i­cal art­work is in­spired by the mys­te­ri­ous world of folk leg­ends and fairy tales

Cotswold Life - - INSIDE -

Han­nah Dyson is a free­lance il­lus­tra­tor based in Stroud whose clients have in­cluded The Idler, The Guardian, The In­de­pen­dent and BBC Pub­lish­ing.

She is cur­rently artist in res­i­dence at Prema Arts Cen­tre, Uley, and cre­ates her work us­ing ink, brushes and Rotring pens as well as dig­i­tal tech­niques. Han­nah is in­spired by the Glouces­ter­shire land­scape, as well as fairy­tales and folk leg­ends.

The sum­mer ex­hi­bi­tion looks bril­liant, Han­nah. Have you ex­hib­ited at the Mu­seum in the Park be­fore?

This is the first time I have ex­hib­ited at the Mu­seum in the Park. I was de­lighted to have been asked, as it is such a beau­ti­ful space and I’m al­ways blown away by the in­cred­i­ble fir trees in the sur­round­ing ar­bore­tum.

Where do you get your in­spi­ra­tion?

I think that sim­ply walk­ing along the lanes and ex­plor­ing the coun­try­side where I live in Stroud has been my in­spi­ra­tion for the last five years. When you have a re­ally good look at the nat­u­ral world it is full of cu­ri­ous de­tail which can then lead your imag­i­na­tion to all sorts of places! In terms of other artists’ work that has in­spired me over the years, I ad­mire Mau­rice Sen­dak, Eric Carle and Vic­tor Kabasta, and I’ve al­ways been drawn to the vaguely claus­tro­pho­bic etch­ings of the Vic­to­rian il­lus­tra­tors like Sir John Ten­niel.

You’re cur­rently artist-in­res­i­dence at Prema. How are you en­joy­ing the ex­pe­ri­ence?

I love it. I still pinch my­self when I ar­rive at my stu­dio in the morn­ing. Uley is a mag­i­cal place, and Prema it­self is a vi­brant artis­tic hub with a great at­mos­phere.

Gor­don Scott, Prema’s artis­tic di­rec­tor, told me the poignant story of John Daniel, the go­rilla of Uley, which in­stantly in­spired me to cre­ate a se­ries of pic­tures imag­ing the life of a go­rilla in a small Cotswold vil­lage. I’m in­clud­ing these in the ex­hi­bi­tion.

What me­dia do you use to cre­ate your il­lus­tra­tions?

I use draw­ing ink to cre­ate tex­tures and shapes which are then lay­ered and coloured in Pho­to­shop. My print­mak­ing back­ground re­ally in­forms how I put my work to­gether, and things de­velop or­gan­i­cally on the screen. I also make pic­tures us­ing col­lage with ink, coloured pens, scis­sors and good old glue sticks.

Do you have a per­sonal favourite fairy­tale – are you more of a Hans Chris­tian An­der­sen or Broth­ers Grimm type of girl?

Ac­tu­ally, when you read the orig­i­nal ver­sions of most fairy­tales, they are pretty night­mar­ish and sur­real. If I had to choose I guess I’d go for the Grimm Broth­ers as I love the bizarre char­ac­ters like Rumplestilt­skin. How­ever, I have three boys and I used to love read­ing them the old Lady­birds book ver­sion of An­der­sens‘ The 3 Billy Goats Gruff… I’d al­ways be the troll!

When did you move to the Cotswolds, and what do you love most about the area?

I moved here eight years ago but it still feels ex­otic and mys­te­ri­ous to me. I know that I’ll never tire of the land­scape, and Stroud where I live is a very cre­ative and in­clu­sive place.

What other projects are you cur­rently work­ing on, and what would be your dream com­mis­sion?

At the mo­ment I am work­ing on a toy pa­per the­atre de­sign of Pinoc­chio for Ben­jamin Pol­lock’s Toyshop in Covent Gar­den. In 2015 I was long listed for the Folio illustration com­pe­ti­tion, which was to il­lus­trate three Vic­to­rian ghost sto­ries. I had never at­tempted to a draw a ghost be­fore and I en­joyed the chal­lenge of do­ing these pic­tures so much that I would love to il­lus­trate a whole an­thol­ogy – the more bizarre and fan­tas­tic the bet­ter.

‘I moved here eight years ago but it still feels ex­otic and mys­te­ri­ous to me’ Han­nah Dyson

Mun­t­jac, by Han­nah Dyson

Comic book de­sign for The Golden Thread Project, by Han­nah Dyson

Mid­dle Lyp­i­att, by Han­nah Dyson

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