Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Angelique Hartigan, Artist

It must be spring at last, there are bluebells as far as the eye can see. The bluebells in question are actually painted on canvas. Drips of intense blue, beneath a haze of silver birch,  in the signature style of artist, Angelique Hartigan.

And the drips aren't confined to the canvas. Angelique's boots, clothing, and the studio floor, are all works of art in their own right.

While chatting, we discovered that we were both studying at Brighton Polytechnic around the same time in the late 80s, but while I was doing a BA in interior design, Angelique was on a much more hands-on course, known as WMCP (Wood, Metal, Ceramics & Plastic). As the course progressed however, she realised that the process of making something where you know from the start what the end result will be, began to lose its appeal. As she discovered, painting allowed a lot more freedom, as you are never quite sure how it will look in the end. But painting had to wait. After studying, when the cold light of reality intruded, Angelique started a career in web design for a city bank. By 2006, it was finally time to take the plunge, and so she quit the day job and picked up her brushes. The web design turned out to be a big influence on her work, particularly the manipulation of images in Photoshop, and the concept of working in 'layers'. So the years of being desk bound in an office, at least found expression in her new work.  
By this stage, Angelique was already a resident of Crystal Palace, and so she found a studio space in the Triangle. Despite having lived as far afield as Plymouth and Milan, it was finally in SE19, that she truly felt at home. And much of her work features local subject matters. Her love of trees and buildings finds plenty of local inspiration, from the parks and woods to the Victorian streets. It's a surprise to learn that the gentle sun dappled scenes she paints are created to the hectic accompaniment of very loud dance music. As she says "My paintings aren't calm productions but energetic like the music I listen to".

Unmistakably, Church Road SE19
And Angelique has done much locally to bring art to a wider audience, founding The Bigger Picture Gallery, which finds temporary sites in empty shops, in which to display the work of local artists. It's next appearance will be as part of the annual Crystal Palace Overground Festival, this summer. Elsewhere her work will be on show at the Affordable Art Fair in Bristol this weekend, or nearer to home, at the Portico Gallery in West Norwood on the first sunday of each month, and at the Dulwich Open House event in May.

Work in progress

Oxford's dreaming spires

Angelique wearing her art
Angelique Hartigan