OC Artists

Yuan Hickman

Poetically expressive and exuberant use of colour, Yuan’s art is intricately deep yet free. Yuan Hickman ( 张媛 ), who is a Chinese expat living in the UK. She constantly experiences and explores cultures between east and west; and turns this passion into her artistic expression. Her work often inspired by nature, culture, music, and life experience. 

"My process is to explore the unconsciousness. I love the way it happens instinctively, sometimes irrational and incomprehensible. When the brush hits the paper, it creates exciting possibilities. Layer by layer, drama starts unfold, waiting for infinite interpretation.”

David Horgan 

My name is Daivd and I am a London based artist and printmaker.

I like to tell stories, and aim to convey a narrative through a colourful, bold style that expresses character and humour. I build a scene around characters and integrate symbols that enhance their story. I’m interested in the immediacy of how one line relates to another and how a composition can spontaneously come together. I’m becoming evermore interested with the interplay between words and images and how elements such as texture, marks and the layering of materials convey a feeling.

My process is quite sporadic and I am learning to embrace the “everythingness” of my work. Generally all my work begins as drawings produced by hand and perhaps as a consequence of my Architectural training I am concerned with composition and the balance in an image but constantly trying to relinquish control and be more expressive, whilst retaining a graphic bold aesthetic. This leads to a lot of experimentation.

Most commonly I’ve used print to express my work and transpose my drawings into screen prints. I like the limitation of two colour screen prints and how a third colour is created when the inks overlap and this is something I like to play with. 

I’m also experimenting a lot with paint. I love acrylic, the immediacy of it. It forces you to work fast and I love how you can play with the merging of colour and layering. I’m hoping this will feed back into my screen printing through monoprint!

Sam Richwood

My name is Sam Richwood. I graduated from the University of Hertfordshire in 2012 with a first degree in graphic design and illustration. I'm currently working as a fine artist, graphic designer and illustrator.

'Go outside and notice the little things - even the smallest experiences can be important. The little things help spark new ideas and remind me of old ones. I'm always amazed by the inspiration I can find, tucked away in the tiniest details just outside my home.Aesthetically, I’ve always wanted to create things that look like things. The people in my paintings have become less academic over time but they still act as a familiar milestone for me - all I have to do then is borrow from my library of random inspirations, motifs and tiny experiences to create their landscape around them. I hope that my characters invite viewers to experience a world through their eyes - to invite them into their bubble and suggest a place beyond the canvas.'

Esme Garlake

My name is Esme Garlake, and I am an Oxford-based artist. I am fascinated by historical photography and representations of femininity, particularly in early Italian postcards. I am also a singer-songwriter, climate activist and writer.  

I like to work with a variety of mediums, from linocut to Indian inks to collage. When painting from black and white photographs of silent film actresses, I find that Indian inks add a wonderful dynamism to these monochrome images. Inks always bring surprising marks and shapes to the paper as they spread and dry.

Whilst studying Italian at university (I graduated last year, in June 2019), I became fascinated with early Italian photographic postcards. From around 1910 to the early 1920s, Italy had a booming silent film industry, and its female protagonists were the first divas of the big screen.

I remember reading that postcards became the ‘cinema of paper’. Indeed, postcards played a significant role in propagating the ideal of the Italian diva – a woman of unbridled feminine passion and sensuality, simultaneously alluring and threatening. She represents a society torn between increasingly modern attitudes and the continued power of traditional roles. I am fascinated by questions of female sexuality and exploring its historical depiction, particularly in popular culture – a lot of the images were quite ‘risqué’ for the time (long flowing hair and puppy-dog eyes, for example).

I have an ever-growing collection of Italian diva postcards that I paint from. Of course, there is strong aesthetic appeal to these photographs and surviving film clips – the unapologetic melodrama and expressiveness makes for striking images. I hope that my paintings can introduce more people to this fascinating era, and some of the characters in it. I also like to also think about the ownership of images, and about the relation between photography (infinitely reproducible) and painting (a one-off). By painting these divas, do they belong more to me, than if I simply have a postcard of them? Is the process of painting an object more personal than that of photographing it?

The divas can seem timeless, ‘divine’, other-worldly, particularly when seen today –  the postcards literally come from a place that no longer exists. Yet postcards were a means of communication between ordinary people; they are dated, signed, stamped; they have been pinned up on someone’s wall, balanced on a mantelpiece, slotted into an album. So whilst the divas might seem timeless, they are always bound to time. 

I find it interesting, then, how we nonetheless seem to automatically idealise these women. By focusing on them in my paintings, by tracing their features and studying their expressions, I go through the process of idealising, monumentalising, capturing them… and I wonder whether this process is a valid one if it is without a critical awareness. After all, these women were held up as white ‘Italian’ beauties and sources of national pride, which is quite sinister considering Italy became a Fascist state in 1922, and had growing colonial ambitions. If we let them, such photographs of divas can bring up all sorts of important questions about Italian nationalism and colonialism, as well as critical feminist ideas about the male gaze.

I love using ink in just one colour; purple ink is a particular favourite of mine. I had been reading Sappho’s poetry and her recurring image of ‘violets’ reminded me of the Italian divas, who seem trapped in century-old expressions of yearning.

Hsin-Yi Yao

My name is Hsin-Yi Yao. I am an England based artist illustrator from Taiwan. I graduated from Kingston University London in Illustration Animation.

I create illustrations, paintings and picture book artwork. I express emotions and communicate through painting and drawing with colours. I am greatly inspired by nature, beauty found in life or anything that touches my heart. I love travelling and hiking. I enjoy discovering those beautiful little moments in our lives, and capture the atmosphere and feelings into my work.

I work both traditionally and digitally. I like working with wet and dry media with layers of tangible textures. My work has a painterly style and my digital work also retains the charm of traditional materials and textures. I also work with ceramic/pottery, which gives me the freedom to turn my ideas into three-dimensional work.

I love the idea of having my work sitting or hung in someone else’s home and be part of their lives.

Lola Tartakover

My name is Lola Tartakover and I am an architect-in-training from Oxford with a love for anything creative. My art is driven by an aspiration to understand place on behalf of others and understand the emotion imbued within locations by their communities. This motive largely stems from my practice as an architect which has focused on the blurring of boundaries between cultural and natural systems and the creation of long-term impacts.  

I have always worked using watercolour and pencil sketching but have moved more recently into digital collaging and print making. The digital collages combine pen drawing with digital manipulations to merge photographs that I have taken.  

Since living in Malaysia for a period, my art has been hugely stimulated by witnessing such vibrant city happenings and observing everyday interactions between people, nature and architecture within two countries of such polarising cultures. I like to explore the complex workings of a city or environment, highlighting the details which often remain unnoticed.