“How can we speak the same language and not understand each other, or be understood in a glance without saying a word?  Porcelain, paper pulp and ping pong balls attempt to decipher personal codes.  I’m constantly tripping over my words, like I’m wearing them two sizes too big.” – Tina Hannay.

In 2017 local artist, Tina Hannay, was awarded the Norfolk Contemporary Arts Prize for Fine Art and a Vice Chancellor’s Commendation for her art installation at Norwich University of the Arts.  In 2019, Hannay will be bringing her latest work to The Cut art centre in Halesworth, where she will be occupying the Malt Room; the main gallery at this iconic cultural venue.  I spoke to Tina Hannay about her forthcoming exhibition and about what led her to this point.

“I was thrilled at the opportunity to exhibit at The Cut.” reflected Hannay.  “The Malt Room is an intriguing and fascinating space that is interrupted by iron girders.  I intend to build that sense of interruption into my work, continuing my exploration of communication and misinterpretation; a key concept in my degree show piece at Norwich University of the Arts”.

Answering my questions about her art career, Hannay went on to explain:

“Becoming an artist was never a cognitive decision, for me.  Art was just always there.  From as far back as nursery school, it was all I wanted to do.  I don’t think of it as a career.  Each project offers me a learning process and an experience that then informs where I go next.” she explained.  “After completing secondary school, I undertook a foundation course at Central St. Martin’s School of Art in London.  I lacked the self-confidence to go on to a degree course, at that time, so set about making an income from artistry.  My early endeavours began with what we now call the ‘upcylcling’ of old items to be turned into canalware.  I sold these at Camden Lock and Ealing Broadway, in London.”

It was from that point that Hannay went on to create a name for herself in artistry and craftsmanship.  This journey brought her from London to her life in East Anglia.  She went on to achieve her degree at Norwich University of the Arts, in 2017, as a mature student.  A forty something mother and step-mother, Hannay reflected over a key early influencer for her life in art.

“I owe so much to my high school art teacher, Christel Abbiss.  She was the first person who understood the language I was speaking and, through her encouragement, she taught me self-discipline and the importance of self-belief as an artist.”

Hannay’s award winning art installation, in 2017, was entitled ‘Et ceter01100001’.  This astounding installation, of 3477 hand cast semi-porcelain light switches, prompted viewers to react with astonishment, debate, curiosity and delight.   With the position of the switches representing binary code, the whole piece communicated a message. 

“The piece was a visual attempt to express how people can speak the same language and not understand each other and yet understand each other and not necessarily need words.” explained Hannay.  “I want my work to offer the viewer a multi-layered experience.  Self-expression is fundamental to human life.  Sadly, the arts are now so underfunded.  I hope to offer people a moment of joy or that special ‘light bulb’ moment.”

Tina Hannay’s much anticipated exhibition, entitled ‘Tell Me About It’, opens at The Cut in Halesworth on Tuesday 23rd April and runs until Saturday 1st June 2019.  The Preview Show is from 12noon – 2pm, Saturday 27th April.  

Link: Tina Hannay

Link: The Cut in Halesworth

If you attend, do come back and post a review in the comments.

(C) Dean Parsons, 2019.

2 Responses

  1. Interesting interview articl Dean – have an insight into Tina’s work and why she is the amazing creative artist that she is.

    • Hi Helen, Thank you for the kind comment about my article. I’m pleased you found it interesting. Yes, Tina is a great subject to interview. Her work is extraordinary and so it was interesting to explore how she perceived her own journey into becoming the artist that she is today. Her art show at The Cut opened this week and I am sure it will be well received by the local community and a stunning success. Thanks for taking the time to comment. Dean.

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