Hattie Malcolmson-Smith

Painting grad Hattie wins studio for a year in University of Brighton’s annual Cass x Phoenix prize

“I am so excited about winning the prize! I feel extremely honoured and I cannot wait to get in the studio, set myself up and start painting!”

Each year Cass Art and Phoenix Studios (artist spaces just by the University in central Brighton) team up with the University of Brighton to select a student to sponsor for free studio space for a year.

The 2020 winner is Hattie Malcolmson, a Fine Art Painting BA(Hons) graduate and we spoke to Hattie just after the announcement was made.

Hi Hattie! Congratulations and thanks for speaking to us…

How did you find studying Fine Art Painting BA(Hons) at Brighton?

“I found studying painting at Brighton incredibly inspiring. It was such a warm environment to develop my practice in and always felt supported by tutors and fellow students. I always felt free to experiment and develop as an artist in the way that suited me. I felt that tutors challenged me, always telling me great ways to develop my practice as well as resources to look at.”

What made you choose the course?

“Art was always a constant when at school for me, and I never had it in my mind that I would give it up. I debated whether I should take it further for a degree due to it being such an unpredictable career but it felt wrong doing anything else and I am so glad I didn’t.

“Painting is something that excites me when I do it as well as learning about it. I just love how art can be about anything you want it to be and you can learn about so many things through art where it be making it, looking at it or studying it. I have also always loved Brighton as a city and its vibrancy, as well as the fact that anyone can just be unapollogetically themselves.

“Studying art in Brighton just sounded so great to me. When I came to look around all the then students were also all so friendly I could see the warm atmosphere before I joined.”

How would you describe your work and style of painting?

“Intense, indulgent, attention seeking, and a bit weird. My paintings present powerful female characters with aggressively formed, almost caricature-style, ugly faces and confident poses. I am trying to reclaim how women have often been presented in art history. Due to the male gaze, women have often been painted to appear passive as well as objectified in art history. Contrasting to this, the women in my paintings are the ones in control.

“The space is theirs and the viewer has intruded. I love to work in heavy impasto and intense colours to evoke feelings of both attraction and repulsion, as well as testing the aesthetic boundaries of taste. By often using personal experiences and desires I try to use self-expression to convey universal female truths.”

How you feel about winning the prize?

“I am so excited about winning the prize! I feel extremely honoured and I cannot wait to get in the studio, set myself up and start painting!”

Do you have plans for how to use your time in the studio space?

“I have a few ideas for paintings I want to do. I am looking forward to experimenting with my new ideas and seeing how my practice develops in the next few months!”

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