When painting a mural in Bristol, I stopped to chat with a number of people. One of those was Paul Concannon, writer and founder of Flow Vibration. Paul interviewed me earlier this month, find some of the interview below. For more check out his blog.
From the moment I chanced on Hannah Adamaszek’s art, I was captivated. The piece in question was an incredible street art mural, produced by Hannah at Bristol’s annual Upfest, Europe’s largest street art and graffiti festival. I was impressed enough to return and view the work a number of times and then conduct a little research about the artist.
It was of little surprise to find that she was already an award-winning and respected talent and an absolute wellspring of creativity, her art extending beyond the streets to exhibitions, live art shows, canvas, yoga studio walls, activism, collaborations, clothing and more.
Some time later, amidst the marvellous chaos of 2016’s Upfest, I’d missed out on a chance to see Hannah in action, so bumping into her while she live-muraled a wall on a return trip to Bristol a few months later was a pleasant surprise. She was humble, unpretentious and friendly. I was thrilled to meet her in person, and even more so when she subsequently agreed, without hesitation, to be interviewed, and allow me to use one of her pieces for the yoga section on this site.
Hannah works from a dedicated studio space in the home she shares with her boyfriend in Crawley, East Sussex. The location allows for easy access to the vibrant art scenes in London and Brighton.
The artist describes her work as having ‘yoga, meditation and bohemian influences’. The pieces predominantly portray ethereal, feminine figures, often situated in nature, practising yoga or meditation. The mysterious characters offer a window into the potential of movement, strength, lightness of spirit, and stillness of mind. While that may all seem rather whimsical, words have limitations. Hannah’s art speaks for itself.
The beginning of the journey
Adamaszek’s passion for art began at school and she would eventually go on to complete a foundation course in drawing, painting and fashion. Her next stop was a photography degree at Bournemouth University.
“I didn’t particularly enjoy the course. I missed art, so after one year, I switched to a Fine Arts degree,” she told me.
What seemed like a logical choice at the time would ultimately prove somewhat vexing. Despite completing the degree, the course proved altogether too theoretical for someone with a thirst to produce art.
“I was frustrated at how little art I got to create; it was mainly conceptual stuff. There was no life drawing, almost no painting. I think I only did one painting in the whole time I did my degree. It put me off art for a while.”
It would be a further seven years before Hannah returned to her roots, the intervening period was spent working ski seasons in Europe, and, for a time, in the office for British Telecom. Eventually, a local art show led her on the path to utilising her vast talents.
“Back in 2012, I saw an advert for an exhibition at a local gallery called ‘Ginger Moo’. I got in touch with them, and they agreed for me to create some pieces, which I did, and they began to display my work.”
It would be a good decision. Fast-forwarding five years, Hannah is now a respected artist, collaborator and visionary. She has shown and produced work across the UK and the continent and is mentioned in The Guardian, the Telegraph, The Independent, and Elle, as well as featured in numerous blogs and articles. She also won an award for ‘Most Outstanding Artwork’ at Femme Fierce, Europe’s largest women’s street art festival.
Hannah on yogic influence
I used to regularly practise Hatha and Vinyasa with Lucy Leslie of Loose Yoga. Even if I manage 10 minutes of yoga or meditation a day, it gives me a lot more energy and stops me thinking about what I have to do. It keeps me ‘in the moment’. My New Year intentions are to do more yoga. I want to create something which helps people stop, slow down and reflect on the world. People often say they find my work peaceful. I read a lovely quote from a Bristol blogger recently describing that aspect of my art.
Hear Me Roar
I am one of the featured artists in ‘Hear Me Roar’ a book of art based on a female artist exhibition curated by Skye Kelly-Barrett. The show led to the book which features the artwork and an interview with each of us.
On the feminine aspect of her work
Because I am female, it’s something I can associate with more strongly. They (the character’s in her images) have that sense of ‘just being’ but with strength, a sense of overcoming struggle, looking at the good things, seeing the positives in everything.
Street art (with a pinch of punk)
I like street art; it’s raw compared to fine art. When I was younger, I was really into old punk music and that spirit of standing up for what you believe in. Street pieces are artwork with statements.
On being prolific and overcoming creative blocks
It’s a bit of everything. I spend time every morning drawing, painting, planning, and on social media to ensure I am keeping up with the business side. I do get creative blocks all the time at which point I will usually make lots of failed pieces that make it to the bin outside. It can be really frustrating, but, through each failed piece, I learn something new that can often spark some inspiration or a new way of working.
Sometimes just taking some time out away from painting can help massively. Either going for a walk or run, visiting friends or going to some galleries can be just what you need.
I’m passionate about the environment, and how we impact it. I recently collaborated with (fellow artist) Saroj Patel. Saroj is someone who has a real passion for the outside and natural forms. We wanted to work on something dreamy – a way to escape into your imagination. We painted a piece on Great Eastern Street in Shoreditch, London.
Artwork and activism
Sticking it to animal testing (from Brandalism)
I was one of 24 artists who took part in a project called Brandalism which is all about drawing attention to issues such as global warming, climate change and animal testing – it was known as a ‘subvertising’ campaign – featuring artwork on billboards across the UK to challenge the destructive impacts of advertising.
All photos by Liam Keown