Hanna Ten Doornkaat is a London based mixed media artist whose current practice focuses on drawing. Hanna graduated from Kingston University with a BA Fine Art Sculpture in 1998 before gaining an MA in Sculpture at Wimbledon School of Art.
An exhibiting member of Surrey Artists Open Studios (SAOS) and Kingston Artists Open Studios (KAOS) Hanna Ten Doornkaat is also the Visual Arts Director for Theatre For All (T4A), a non-profit organisation run by volunteers to promote art and artists.
Hanna Ten Doornkaat has exhibited at The Other Art Fair, The Affordable Art Fair and at various Open Studios with KAOS, ASC and SAOS. Her work was shown in the Drawn to Abstraction and Drawn Together exhibitions organised by Orleans House Gallery earlier this year and she has recently had work exhibited with the Rebecca Hossack Gallery.
Hanna Ten Doornkaat kindly spared some time to talk to Pullingers Art Shop:
How Does Hanna Ten Doornkaat Describe Her Work?
My current work exhibits an obsessive preoccupation with repetition, a futile quest for regularity and the setting up of simple systems in an attempt to impose order upon chaos. The work is often process-orientated and moves between mania and monotony. The only joy I allow myself is the occasional use of materials unrelated to art in the traditional sense.
Hanna Ten Doornkaat’s compulsive and careful mark making hypnotic and utterly absorbing. One can easily experience what I call an absence when viewing one of her drawings. Hanna Ten Doornkaat is currently experimenting with the drill as a drawing tool and I imagine the unpredictability of this will challenge her quest for regularity more than ever before.
What Prompted The Transition From Sculpture To Drawing?
The transition from sculpture to drawing was a gentle but gradual one.
My early sculptural works were always more installations and given the very conceptual training at Kingston University at the time, were always idea based rather than aesthetics. The shift started when I made small maquettes of what looked like flowers but they were all made of beauty products like fake fingernails and eyelashes, etc. These were then photographed close up and the photograph became the work.
Another reason was the lack of space and also financial reasons. Making sculptures is a lot more expensive. These days a lot of my work is much more based on researching drawing and what can be considered as drawing. You will probably realise I am not very conventional and love experimenting with a variety of mediums.
Tell Us About Your Drill Drawings?
The drill drawings are probably closest to sculptural work as they are very physical but very rewarding and yet the drawing element doesn’t get lost as the mark making is very important. The use of a drill goes back to my BA days in the early 90s when I scratched into etching plates and made prints. There is an element of randomness as the circular movement and vibration of the drill cannot be fully controlled.
Does The Drill Have A Preferred Drawing Medium?
Drawing with the drill can be quite expensive as there is a lot of breakage. I currently use graphite refills and have also done a test with biro which was very frustrating as they either bend or bic just breaks. I am still looking into using other drawing materials but you will have to wait for the outcome.
Which Living & Non-Living Artist Would You Like To Have A Drink With?
I don’t have to think hard for that – Grayson Perry, my hero, because he is fun! He is honest and not pretentious. He is serious about what he is doing but doesn’t talk art nonsense.
It would have to be more than one but definitely Louise Bourgeois because she inspired me as a female artist and Sol LeWitt, I love his work.
If You Could Show Your Work Anywhere, On Anything Where Would It Be?
I think one place where I would like to show my current work is Germany, my home country, as I believe that drawing, which is my main practice, is more appreciated there. In the UK it seems that drawing still ranks amongst the lesser art forms and only painting and sculpture in the traditional form are accepted as what’s considered high art.
What’s In Your Art Kit?
Ha, my art kit is a collection of art materials of all sorts. I am very experimental in my approach and draw with whatever is at hand, however, currently I am drawing with an electric drill and pencils or graphite.
Which Sketchbooks Do You Use?
I have an endless collection of sketchbooks because I often go out, forget it and then have to buy a new one! They are often small because all my sketches are usually marks I think of when travelling, mind mapping, reminders of ideas or doodles on a piece of paper which then gets stuck in the sketchbook. If I had to choose my favourite one it would have to be my Moleskine Sketchbook.
Which Art Product Could You Not Do Without?
Biro and fineliners, tons of them and of course lots of nice sheets of paper. My favourite paper at the moment is Nepalese Khadi Paper.
Are There Any Art Materials You Would Like To Try?
I am thinking of using Oil Bars to draw with.
What Are You Working On At The Moment & Hoping To Achieve This Year?
I am always working on several pieces at the same time, i.e. the more commercial work is, the more on-going the process. I feel I need the more experimental work like the electric drill drawings because of the repetitive and obsessive nature of my normal work which is often very time consuming and tense. The drill drawings help me relax.
What do I want to achieve this year? I think I have already achieved it by now being represented by a gallery which takes off the pressure of having to find exhibitions spaces and putting on exhibitions to get the work seen.
Are You Entering Any Open Submissions & Art Fairs This Year?
2014 is a busy year for me. I am currently working on some more experimental work which is going into an exhibition in Sydney this month.
In October I will be showing with some selected KAOS artists in Kingston’s twinning partnership with Oldenburg, Germany. This is something I helped organise together with Kingston Council and BBK Oldenburg (Association of Fine Artists, Oldenburg).
I have also recently been taken on by Rebecca Hossack Gallery London where I have already been included in some exhibitions.
What Is The Best Piece Of Advice You Have Been Given?
Not sure? Maybe to stick to your guns and don’t go with a trend! Do what you feel is right for you?!
What Is Your Most Notable Achievement To Date?
A solo exhibition in Germany many years ago. Also having sold a mixed media piece to Davidoff cigarettes for an advertising campaign which has recently been sold at an auction and being represented by a gallery.
Do You Have A Favourite Project/ Piece Of Work?
My favourite project is making work, spending as much time in the studio as possible then going home to continue working on a smaller scale piece in my study.
What Would Your Dream Project Be?
I suppose my dream project would be to be given a solo exhibition and being able to curate the exhibition myself and possibly in Germany which would feel like coming home.
… and of course showing work in America … hey one must have dreams!
Do You Have A Favourite Pullingers Product?
All Pullingers products are my favourites. I love the variety and the fact that it feels like a proper art shop and not a shop for the masses. If you want to find something special, go to Pullingers! If they don’t have it, they will try and get it for you. That’s my experience!
Do You Use Any Special Techniques?
My current technique is silverpoint, drawing with a drill and also a soldering iron.
Hanna ten Doornkaat’s Advice For Fine Art Graduates:
‘Make drawing a daily routine!’
Many thanks to Hanna Ten Doornkaat and we look forward to seeing more drill drawings!
If you are feeling inspired and need some Art Supplies then go to Pullingers Art Shop.
Do you draw with anything unusual like Hanna Ten Doornkaat? Tell us about it and send us your pictures!