Part of our series Artists in Quarantine. We talk about the lives, interests and concerns of artists during the lockdown, based on ‘interviews’ with some of the artists we work with – some conducted by email (with a list of questions), some on the phone.
Where do you normally work?
I mostly work in a small private tattoo studio in London called Hidden Hands Tattoo. We’re a bit different from a classic tattoo studio in that we work with appointments and people come to us for our style of work, rather than asking for a ready-made design. We put a lot of emphasis on our artwork, we have created the Hidden Hands Collective where we sell Cards, different types of ArtPrints, Originals, Handmade Goods for the Home and Accessories. In the studio I do tattoos, I draw and I do some printmaking on paper and fabric with a lovely small wooden press by @woodzilla.
For a few years now, I’ve been a member of the East London Printmakers (ELP) and, once a week, I go to the beautiful workshop in Mile End (it used to be off Mare St. when I first became a member) where I do my Photopolymers.
Why do you choose to work there?
I love it!
I love both places, although I wish I could go to the ELP more often than just once a week.
The ELP is beautiful and spacious, has very good equipment and is really well managed. I get to know and work with very talented and knowledgeable artists and I’m very happy to take part in some exhibitions, fairs and events with some of the other members.
The tattoo studio is beautiful, quiet and small and I also work with very talented artists with whom I am constantly learning and creating.
What has changed because of the lockdown? How does that impact your practice?
It has changed and impact on pretty much everything!
I’m a very active person, always on the move… and now, I’m homeschooling two primary school girls (my partner is doing half the work, I need to give him the credit!)
I can’t go to the ELP, I can’t tattoo and I’m stuck at home.
I have the small press at home now so I’ve been doing some lino printing on both fabric and paper to prepare some new stock for the Hidden Hands Collective but the whole dynamic has changed and I have found myself quite uninspired and lacking in motivation to create new things.
Luckily there have been some very beautiful and interesting initiatives such us #madeforthenhs organised by House of Prints which has made me feel useful by supporting the NHS whilst showcasing my work to the wider public via social media. I’ve also discovered lots of really good artists in all sorts of artistic disciplines.
What have you discovered because of the lockdown?
I have discovered that slowing down is a necessary thing and something worth re-learning in my case.
After a first burst of energy, I suppose due to my brain being in some kind of Emergency mode I started feeling disheartened and even disappointed with myself for not using the time to do all the things I never have time to do… But little by little I started to realise that what I needed to do is pause, enjoy the now and flow.
I have enjoyed being with my family a lot and their company. Sometimes doing important things sometimes procrastinating together.
What do you miss the most?
Being able to be out and about freely seeing friends and visiting extended family.
See Susanna’s work as part of Made for the NHS Event.