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Take Five with Hamish Macaulay

Hamish Macaulay is a London based printmaker and painter. His work consistently features landscapes, seascapes or horizons. Combining printmaking, mixed media and digital manipulation, he layers traditional and modern techniques to create fresh perspectives. 

I met Hamish through our joint involvement with ArtCan, a charitable arts organisation that supports emerging and established artists through profile raising activities, philanthropic events and exhibitions. In his work, he brings together the coastal and mountain influences of his background growing up in New Zealand with brutalist and modernist structures of his current home in London.

He exhibits work in galleries in London and around the UK, and also in New Zealand.

In your professional life, what is the single best thing about what you do?

I have just made the jump from being a full-time graphic designer for advertising (and part-time artist) to becoming a full-time artist. Now I can spend all of my time creating art instead of it being a second job done at night and on weekends. I've noticed that since becoming full-time the speed of evolution and production of my art has increased exponentially without the interruptions I had before. I'm so much happier now that I don't have to spend my day working for clients in an agency whilst wishing I was in my studio creating my own art.

Do you have a creative hero / heroine and if so, why?

Not sure I could narrow it down to one, but I could give you a list. I love the work of NZ artists Ralph Hotere for his amazing painting and installation work. Gordon Walters for his forward-thinking design-driven paintings featuring abstractions of Maori motifs during the 50s-70s. Colin McCahon for his landscapes and integration of type into his paintings. There's also artists such as Gerhard Richter, Rothko and Mondrian, and architects/designers Erno Goldfinger and Le Corbusier, who have all been inspirational to me throughout my life. The list goes on...

What piece of advice do you wish you had been given at the beginning of your career?

Sketch down every idea that comes to you at the time. When your head is full of ideas and you don't scribble it down it will disappear. Sketch books are a great source of future inspiration too.

If you hit a creative block, what is your top tip for getting through it?

I haven't suffered from a creative block yet – I have more ideas going on in my head than I have time to develop them. I guess if I did hit a block, I would go back through my sketch books and find an idea I never had the chance to pursue, and evolve that. Usually when I start a new project, the single idea I had started with brings about 10 other ideas or variations that I want to try.

And finally, for fun, if you were a shoe, what type of shoe would you be and why?

Type of shoe, hmmm... I think I would be a jandal (you call them flip-flops). Just the thing to stay cool on a hot summers day. And easy to kick off to jump into the sea. I'm lucky enough to currently have a pair that have a bottle opener built into them, so that's a plus on the versatility stakes.


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