Meet Hannah Richards, an illustrator and stationery designer who celebrates imperfections through experiments with the bright, bold and minimalist. It’s easy to lose yourself in her intelligent, layered artwork.

Hannah recently embarked on a residency with By Other Means Gallery, exploring screen printing as a method for turning a digitally focused practice into something more tangible.

Your work is wonderfully captivating. How would you define your style?

I’m a surface designer and illustrator, my patterns are bright and bold and often constructed from very minimalistic components taken from experiments in paper collage and ink. I like the challenge and subtlety of expressing ideas through the simplest, stripped down of approaches. I think there is a shameless bravery in keeping a design extremely simple and bold.

My work explores the small details within pattern that can create whole stories, and micro narratives, creating patterns that are unexpectedly disrupted, breaking free and take on a life of their own and a kinetic quality.

Were you always drawn to illustration and design? How did you find your way here?

I studied illustration at university but I actually left it behind pretty quickly after graduating, instead working in adverting and various other factions of the creative industries. I found I was missing working in a creative role and quit my job to start my own business designing wrapping paper and stationery which has expanded into all sorts of surface design. I think part of the reason I love illustration and design are the way they blend so easily with other disciplines; printmaking, product design, set design, film making, nothing is too high brow or low brow.

Were you always drawn to illustration and design? How did you find your way here?

I studied illustration at university but I actually left it behind pretty quickly after graduating, instead working in adverting and various other factions of the creative industries. I found I was missing working in a creative role and quit my job to start my own business designing wrapping paper and stationery which has expanded into all sorts of surface design. I think part of the reason I love illustration and design are the way they blend so easily with other disciplines; printmaking, product design, set design, film making, nothing is too high brow or low brow.

What is your aim when creating art? Do you try and evoke specific reactions from your audience?

I want to create work that doesn’t take itself too seriously, that suggests an in-joke between the viewer and the artist. I like to make pattern with hidden surprises, designs that take a closer look before they fully reveal themselves; celebrating imperfection, and the resulting black humour that comes from embracing failure and destruction. There can be a fine line between joy and despair that’s where I want to lie.

The digital world is constantly evolving. How do you keep up with new techniques and tools?

I’m not the best at staying afresh of the most up to date software, for me a lot of the work I create is pieced together from very simple components and it’s more about what the pieces say as a whole than the techniques that made them. I have recently begun to experiment with screen printing, which means moving away from a very digitised practice into a much more hand on and visceral process, with a much more unpredictable output!

I like working digitally because it takes away any fear of making mistakes, so using print making methods for this show will be an interesting challenge in uncertainty and gives me an opportunity to be less precious about my work.

The digital world is constantly evolving. How do you keep up with new techniques and tools?

I’m not the best at staying afresh of the most up to date software, for me a lot of the work I create is pieced together from very simple components and it’s more about what the pieces say as a whole than the techniques that made them. I have recently begun to experiment with screen printing, which means moving away from a very digitised practice into a much more hand on and visceral process, with a much more unpredictable output!

I like working digitally because it takes away any fear of making mistakes, so using print making methods for this show will be an interesting challenge in uncertainty and gives me an opportunity to be less precious about my work.

You’re embarking on a residency and exhibition with By Other Means Gallery. What drew you to their project, #KillingIt?

I saw #killingit it advertised online when I was at a stage where I was feeling confident in the products and designs I was producing while looking for an opportunity to take my work into other dimensions, the show at By Other Means provides a really nice opportunity to use different mediums and grow in scale.

What are you hoping to achieve with the residency?

I’m hoping to use this residency to begin working with screen printing and textile printing which a pretty exciting new direction to take my designs. I’m hoping to do more of this in the next year so the residency gives me a perfect opportunity to lay the ground work for this and explore new products.

What are you hoping to achieve with the residency?

I’m hoping to use this residency to begin working with screen printing and textile printing which a pretty exciting new direction to take my designs. I’m hoping to do more of this in the next year so the residency gives me a perfect opportunity to lay the ground work for this and explore new products.

How important is it for an artist to experiment and/or collaborate outside of their discipline?

I get bored easily and love to experiment with new methods and techniques. I don’t ever want to be confined to one discipline, for me what is more important to have a style and methodology that can transcend different disciplines and still be recognisable.

For me, forging into new areas and experimenting with new techniques is really important, I want my work to be constantly evolving and moving and it’s exciting to develop new products and work on commissions.

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