Artist of the Month

March's Artist of the Month Alys Scott-Hawkins

Image: Alys Scott-Hawkins, self portrait series, ink on paper, 2019

Our Artist of the Month feature aims to promote artists' work and raise issues in a quick, informal way. March's Artist of the Month is Alys Scott-Hawkins.


Hello, who are you and what do you do?

Hello! I work with drawing and documentary, performance and film. My background is in animation, I often collaborate, and I spend a lot of time drawing from observation. Drawing as a subjective interpretation of lived experience is what floats my boat - opening up ways of telling stories which don’t usually get heard.


Where are you based?

I live and work in Southampton, which is the city where I grew up. I moved away to study (in Newcastle and then London), and never thought I’d return. But I came back in 2004, found a welcoming community of artists at the Arches Studios. Since then the visibility of culture in the city has grown, increasingly picking up speed. Now feels like an exciting time to be here.


Where do you work?

In the push-pull balancing act that is time-money-space, I’ve had studios in the past, but more recently have used the tiny spare room at home. I’ve just given that up to my daughter who doesn’t want to share with her brother any longer! So for now my studio has shrunk to a chest of drawers in the corner of my bedroom, but what I dream of is a shipping container at the bottom of the garden...

For a long time my practice has had to fit in around other demands, but I try to work with that: I draw a self-portrait daily (when there’s a good rhythm going) which I publish on Instagram, and a few years back I made a series of drawings on bus journeys to work, which later became a large-scale site-specific drawing in a group show.


What does 'success' mean to you?

For me, it means making work without inhibition.


Do you earn a living from making art?

Not now. For many years I did as a freelance film-maker, making animated documentary films, usually for not-for-profit organisations, but there was little time for my own practice. I’ve also worked a lot in higher education, where research opened up opportunities to reflect on the processes I use, but making new work was near impossible. Since I became a parent, earning money and continuing my practice have had to shift around into various arrangements which attempt to make it all work together!

Currently I work as Artist Development Officer for ‘a space’ arts supporting visual artists through a programme of networks and events. This happily brings together many different threads of my experience, and it’s really satisfying to be benefiting artists by working for an organisation which has supported me as an artist over the years.


What makes a good artwork?

One which shows me something I’ve never seen before.


What have you been up to recently?

The most recent exhibitions have been of work from my archive: a 2002 film at the Barbican in December presented as a ‘classic’ alongside new animation by female artists, and a 2004 film which was screened at an Experimental and Expanded Animation event in Farnham last month. It can feel odd when older work gets an airing but getting feedback from audiences gives me new perspective on what I’m making now.


What have you got coming up?

I’ve just started working on a new film – getting my hands dirty with animation again for the first time in many years – returning to material developed for an autobiographical experimental project.

An ongoing project is with Chloe Briggs, who runs Drawing is Free, in Paris. We’re working together to reflect on the ways we use observational drawing.

Another ongoing collaboration is Mark / Shift / Loop – working with a choreographer and a scenographer, and playing with drawing as a spontaneous response in live performance.



Alys was born in the heatwave of 1976. She studied in Newcastle and then at the Royal College of Art. Her work uses drawing and animation to explore the world and tell stories. Exhibitions include the Venice Biennale circuit and Parasol Unit, London. Her work in animation has won multiple international awards and been screened on Channel 4, as well as film festivals including Annecy, Krok, Stuttgart & Anima Mundi. Residencies include the National Media Museum, Bradford, and Museums Quartier Vienna. Recent commissions include a drawing performance with Rambert Dance for the British Art Show Fringe.



What's On

Groundwork: Steve Rowell, Points of Presence

Porthcurno Telegraph Museum, Eastern House, Old Cable Lane, Porthcurno TR19 6JX

Thursday 21 June 2018 – Monday 01 April 2019

Fabric Africa: Stories told through textiles

Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, Queens Rd, Bristol, BS8 1RL

Saturday 30 June 2018 – Sunday 19 May 2019

Phizogs - Bedwyr Williams at RAMM

The Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery, Queen Street, Exeter EX4 3RX

Tuesday 17 July 2018 – Monday 01 April 2019

Visual Arts South West

Working towards a South West where talented artists thrive, and a resilient and connected visual arts ecology that inspires more engaged and diverse audiences to value and advocate for its work.

Part of the Contemporary Visual Arts Network

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