Tracy Hill is an artist, Senior Printmaking Technician at UCLan and Research Associate for Artlab Contemporary Print Studios. Her research examines how the conventional processes of printmaking and the new developing acrylic and digital technologies can be combined to produce innovative ways to challenge the definitions of print.
Winner of the European Printmaking Prize at the International Print Triennial, and 2017 winner of the Warrington Contemporary Arts Festival (amongst others).
She has shown works extensively across the UK and Internationally in Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, India, Krakow, Serbia, Shanghai and USA.
1. Congratulations! How does it feel winning the European Printmaking Prize at the International Print Triennial in Krakow?
It is an enormous honour to be awarded the European Printmaking Prize, the Triennial has for such a long time been one of the pivotal points within the world of Printmaking where artists from all over the world come together. This global stage allows a perspective of contemporary printmaking which is hard to get at any other time creating a dialogue between artists and institutions.
2. Please can you tell us more about your winning piece ‘Black Waters’?
The work itself is a woodblock relief print, comprised of 10 separate panels and printed by hand on kozo paper. The panels are cut using a laser cutter and the images are created using a Lidar scanner (digital measuring equipment used by companies to assess and map locations)
Black Waters, is from the body of work ‘Matrix of Movement’ which was made in response to the artists residency I undertook in NSW Australia at the end of 2016. I wanted to create an image which spoke of the different social and cultural attitudes towards wetlands. Western cultures view wetlands as evil, disease ridden connected to the uncanny and a threat to health and sanity. Cultural progress is answered by dredging, draining, filling in and reclaiming.
Indigenes regard wetlands as places of light and dark, life and death, vital for life. Living black waters are seen as the lungs of the earth.
3. What inspires your work on a daily basis?
I am inspired by something new everyday, people, technology, moments which you witness if you spend time looking but generally anything which gives me new perspectives and ways of seeing the world around me. Technology fascinates me but it also concerns me, our growing reliance and dependance on digital technology to make our lives easier is creating a disconnected relationship with the world around us and the only way I feel I can make sense of this is by using elements of this technology to regain some control of it, exploring what I am seeing and feeling and reintroducing a sense of connection and aesthetic.
In terms of my work I am mostly inspired by the abandoned spaces which sit quietly alongside our busy lives but I am equally inspired by the people who work directly in these places to ensure they remain protected.
4. To what extent does your role at UCLAN influence you and your work?
My role has very recently changed at UCLan, for 18 years I was a print technician and now I am a research associate for Artlab Contemporary Print Studios. Both these roles have been integral to my practice as artist and have given me the opportunity to work alongside brilliant, clever and inspiring individuals. My aim has always been the same which is to push and explore printmaking within a critically engaged practice, encouraging the next generations of artists to use printmaking as part of a wider artistic practice but ensuring that traditional skills and aesthetics are maintained to the highest standards.
5. What advice would you give to an aspiring artist reading about your fantastic Prize win?
I think the most important thing to remember as an artist is to be truthful to yourself, make work which you believe in and which you can confidently stand by. Research and understanding your subject is vital and underpins your work.