Interview with Ellie Hoskins

We recently commissioned Ellie Hoskins, an interdisciplinary artist and writer from Cumbria who lives and works in Liverpool, to produce some artwork for our exterior wall on Blundell Lane.

Date posted

05 April 2022

The resulting work is humorous, light-hearted, and relatable, using the supermarket as a thematic anchor to discuss the times we live in.

We've asked Ellie some questions about her practice. Read on to find out more about her inspirations, themes, and artistic process.

Can you tell us a bit about your practice as an artist?
I’m still figuring it all out to be honest. I feel like I’ve spent years struggling to explain what I do. My background is in fine art, and within that visual practice I’ve tended to work instinctively and intuitively across different mediums to build a body of work that, when viewed altogether, reveals the impossible dualities I feel. I’ve always tried to combine the sad and funny, the chaotic and the calm. But as I say, I’m still figuring it all out and I am trying not to place too much pressure on myself. In the past I’ve felt like I needed to have a consistent practice but working with such limitations removes every bit of fun. Everything began to feel so stale. I basically just do whatever I feel like doing / whatever I have the energy to do.

What do you hope people will take away from this artwork?

I hope they relate to at least one of the texts. And I guess it’d be nice if they made people smile. In terms of my own takeaways, and this doesn’t necessarily mean I want other people to follow the same thought process; I realised whilst trying to write positively and optimistically for this commission, that the things that bring me hope and joy, the things that matter most to me, are a bit pathetic. It’s made me want to push to find more meaning and purpose in my day-to-day life.

Your recent work is mostly text-based pieces, what appeals to you about writing at the moment?

I think it’s the immediacy of it. It’s difficult to explain but I got to a point with art-making where everything just felt so futile. I felt like the stuff I was making wasn’t doing anything for me or anyone else. I’ve never been led by process, and have always been more bothered about a piece’s effect than how I felt whilst making it. And it seems obvious but it took me a whole fine art degree and the five/six years after graduating to realise I can achieve what I want to by literally just writing some words down.

Are there any particular artists or creatives who influence you?

Yeah there are loads. My influences are all writers at the minute. My faves are Kae Tempest, Patricia Lockwood, David Foster Wallace, Kurt Vonnegut, George Saunders, Miranda July, Grace Paley and David Sedaris. I also stumbled across a poet called Chelsey Minnis the other day and I’ve not read much yet, but the stuff I have read has been really inspiring. In terms of visual art, Louise Bourgeois has always been my number one.

What do you have planned next?

I have quite a few projects lined up actually. I feel like I did nothing for five years and all of a sudden I’m getting opportunities. I’m writing a piece for Montez Press, collaborating with a local musician on some spoken word pieces, I have some short pieces being published later this year as part of an exhibition by Bedwyr Williams, and I’ve just been asked to write something to be published and shown in two exhibitions (Cardiff and North Wales). I’m hopefully going to have my first solo show at some point in summer too.

What’s your favourite food to find reduced in Tesco?

I rarely find anything good to be honest. I got a pack of 5 donuts for 20p once but being vegan it’s rare you get something proper exciting. I live in hope of finding a bucket of Linda McCartney chicken… it’s £5 normally and there’s no way I’m paying that but I’ve heard they’re amazing.

See Ellie's work on our exterior wall on Blundell Lane until Thu 14 Apr.

About Ellie

Ellie Hoskins is an interdisciplinary artist and writer from Cumbria who lives and works in Liverpool. Within her work, she seeks to find a sense of duality and restore balance between polarized emotions. Tragedy is balanced with comedy, chaos with calm, seriousness with silliness and despair with hope.

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