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Lucy Hardie

Portrait of Australian artist Lucy Hardie, by Ilona Nelson for This Wild Song
Portrait of Australian artist Lucy Hardie, by Ilona Nelson for This Wild Song

About Lucy

Lucy Hardie specialises in meticulously rendered ink drawings on paper. Her intricately constructed, evocative works explore the continuum between life and death, offering intimate portrayals of the transformative power of death in catalysing new life. Her work is exhibited in Australia, Europe and the US, and is featured in numerous art and literary publications worldwide. She is represented by Port Jackson Press Australia and PG Printmaker Gallery in Melbourne.

Lucy’s work


How do you describe your work to others?
Hyper detailed ink drawings combining the real with the unreal.

How do you begin new work?
I begin by sketching and writing down ideas in my journals, and collating inspiration and reference photos, including inspiration for composition, lighting, colour, and mood. From here I either create some more finalised studies, or move in to the final work. A final piece begins with sketching out my central composition, which I then ink over, allowing room for new ideas to be incorporated as I go.

Do you tend to work in series or do you see your body of work as a continuation?
Both. When I work on a specific series for an exhibition, I find it shares common thematic threads with all my work, so each series can be seen on it’s own as well as an extension of a larger body of work.

What attracts you to your subjects?
I’m attracted to subjects that evoke in me a sense of connection, intimacy, beauty, otherworldliness, tenderness, and power. This isn’t necessarily dependent on physical attributes, although the human form, natural elements, and religious iconography are subjects I am drawn towards for their symbolic potential. Creating an experience of the intangible for viewers is primary, and I choose subjects I feel can best facilitate this.

What do you use as reference material?
I refer mainly to photographs I’ve taken of models. I also draw inspiration from fashion, photography, and the work of other artists I may be looking to at the time.

Do you work intuitively or more consciously?
My primary mode is intuitive, and is what drives me to go with a particular idea or use a medium in a particular way. Then I consciously organise this information to plan the work, and create guidelines for the process to unfold.

What’s your favourite colour to work with?
Black, although technically not a colour. To me it represents all colours at once, mystery, somewhere to get lost in. In particular, I’m drawn to variations in black – blue-black, red-black, green-black.

Where do you create?
In my studio at the Abbotsford Convent

Do you have a studio ritual to start the session?
I start most mornings with meditation, exercise, dancing, which helps me feel energised for a day in the studio. Music, drinks and snacks at arms reach, are also musts before I sit down at the easel.

What’s your favourite music to work to?
Depending on the mood I’m in or want to create, it could be anything from old blues, to soul, to dance and electronica – any music that facilitates my being in flow in any given moment.

Do you enjoy coming up with titles?
Yes, they’re extensions to the art.

What’s your favourite part of creating?
Seeing an image come to life when I’m just past half way.

What advice would you give to your emerging self?
I’m here, I’ve got you.

Have you ever worked with a mentor?
Several along the way. My mentors include the artists I’ve learnt from in books as well as creative connections I’ve made in person. Each have helped me grow in different ways, both in the creative and business aspects of the role.

How do you alleviate the down times?
Challenging times, self-doubt, are a natural part of the process and something to be expected. The key for me is acceptance. It’s not always easy, but when I fully accept a challenging experience as it is, without trying to change it, I suddenly become aware of the next thing to focus on; the new idea or creative opportunity becomes self-evident.

What defining moments have you experienced within your practice?
At the moment it’s the realisation that each artist has their own way to go that works for them. Mine is unique to me, yours is unique to you. There is no “right way”, just what works for you. I’m going with what’s working, and it’s working!

What is the most memorable exhibition or artwork you have seen and why?
Seeing Van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night Over The Rhone’ at the NGV was extraordinary. All the brush strokes seemed to be alive and moving towards me. My mind was blown. Also seeing Ernst Fuch’s work at the Ernst Fuchs Museum in Vienna in 2009 was a transformative experience. I could not see how a human hand had created it. It was as if the middleman had been taken away, and there was just me experiencing the mysterious place where the art had come from. It was a life changing experience for me, and set me on an artistic trajectory I would devote myself to wholeheartedly.

If you could ask any artist any question, what would it be?
How did you navigate the transition period between the style you were first known for to the style you are currently known for?

What does the future hold for you?
2019 shows at Outré Gallery in Melbourne and at Wausau Museum of Contemporary Art in the US.

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