For this week we will be talking to artist Tegen Hoare, taking a look at her recent projects, her interest in writing and self portraiture. Read the full Q&A below to gain an insight into her exciting art practice.
Can you briefly describe yourself as an artist and what you enjoy doing?
I like to do things my own way, to my own timeline, which has led me to the peculiar place of being a non-writer writer and blurring analogue and digital art together. I use materials that anyone could have access to, and I keep all my past work, on the off chance it will become relevant to rework again later.
What drew you to pursuing a degree in Fine Art?
I always knew I wanted to pursue a career in art but deciding on what type of art degree to do I felt a little like a child in a sweet shop wanting to try every single one. I saw a fine art degree as the flexible option as you are essentially in charge of your own direction. If someone told me at the start of my degree that I was going to end up writing, there is no way I would have believed them. That is one of the things a fine art degree does – it breaks down your preconceived perceptions of what something can be.
Tegen Hoare, Excerpt from the book Expect, 16-page book, staple bound, 14.8 x 21 x 0.2 cm, 2020.
How would you describe your approach to art making?
Intuitive, spontaneous, questioning and contradictory are some of the ways I would describe my thought process when it comes to making. I consider making artwork, at least in its first initial steps, quite an intimate act – it is just the pen, the paper and I. From there after, it is a continual process of reimaging and reworking. I don’t think I ever consider any work really finished.
Some of your recent photographs depict self portraits. Do you feel it is
important to include yourself as the subject matter of your artwork?
I feel an artwork has more weight to it when the artist makes their presence known. It is so easy to just view a piece of art as an object that just exists and forget that someone actually made it – and deliberately so. Depicting yourself or at least some form of a self, through image, words or gesture, reveals to the viewer a peek at the person and process behind the artwork. Self-portraiture is also a bit of a power move – its acknowledging and playing with your own presence and presenting yourself to the world, and in a way of your own choosing.
Tegen Hoare, I gli-tch, photocopy of digitally edited print, 21 x 29.7 cm, 2020.
Are there any particular artists that have inspired your art practice?
I tend to look more to writing, film and text-based artists. Such as the writing of Moyra Davey, Kate Zambreno, Jeanette Winterson and publishers like Loose Joints and Self Publish Be Happy. Although, I always find myself coming back to the work of artists Jenny Holzer and Susan Hiller. I also have a large collection of independent magazines and zines that I take ideas for composition and layout from.
Are there specific themes or concepts you like to portray within your work?
Notions of the ‘gaze’ crop up in my writing and photography, and with it, explorations into concepts of the ‘self’ and the ‘individual’. As well as, deeply personal writing that relate to my experiences of loss and grief, feeling isolated and living with chronic pain. I like to leave my work slightly ambiguous so that it opens itself up to multiple readings, but also so that it is not so easily read. You have to spend a bit of time with it to really get to know it – just like a person.
I also play around with language, see what it’s made of and find new ways to structure and implement it. If I can do that while poking fun at certain expectations and preconceptions, even better.
Tegen Hoare, I in black, digitally edited photograph, 2020.
What one thing would you like to change about the art industry today?
The notion of professionalism, that certain materials and methods of making art are valued above others – many artists have and do challenge this of course but change is a long ongoing process. A photocopy can look just as good, carry the same weight, as an oil painting given the right context and space. I think more artists need to push back against the expectations and established order of institutions.
What projects have you recently been working on?
I have been printing the books I designed last year myself and I have several scripts on the go for works of fiction. I don’t like to rush my writing process; I like to wait till I have something to add instead of regularly forcing myself to write. I also have my research project for my final year of university, that I am currently working on, although what I have planned, I can see extending beyond just a submission for university.
Tegen Hoare, Erase it No.1, Digitally edited print, 2020.
We see that you have been using processes of photocopying to create your recent artwork. Can you expand on this process and why you use it?
My work often starts in a sketchbook or on A4 paper and photocopying these pages was an instant way to get the work out of the book, and into new contexts and spaces. I came to find the photocopier was just like any other canvas and could be used to create work not just copy existing material. It is perfect for me because, up until that point I had struggled to find a medium that could keep up with my thought process. I also love that you can’t quite predict what
the outcome will look like or the unexpected surprise of a distorted image when the printer runs out of ink.
Is there a piece of art that you have created that you do not like? Why?
There will often be times I have produced something and thought ‘what a complete waste of my time, this is terrible’. However, most of the time this can be resolved by simply placing it to one side and coming back to it later to realise, ‘actually there is something interesting happening here’. When I make something, I am not happy with, I will often rework it or use quite a destructive or intense process to remove parts of it. For the washed words piece it felt very overloaded and assaulting so I literally washed it in the shower to tone the piece down. It was quite a calming activity to wash away something which caused me disdain and turn it into quite an intriguing piece.
Tegen Hoare, Washed words, photocopy print eroded with water, 21 x 29.7 cm, 2020.
Can you give us an insight into the experiences you have had during the pandemic and how you have adapted to still create art?
I was quite lucky in that my practise was not really affected as the materials I typically use are those found around the house – paper, ink, and a basic printer. Although, it turns out my parent’s printer couldn’t handle scanning manipulation. It was still quite a jarring surreal experience though, as there has never really been such a situation before. I would definitely say that the lockdown was responsible for the introspective writing I made and for the direction it has led me in to increase my own presence in my work.
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