QnA with Scapes Artist Elise Hurst

It's our final day of Scapes and thanks to all the people who have come in and made it one of the busiest days of the four week show. Here's a final look at one of our favourite artists from the show, Elise Hurst, who creates awe-inspiring vintage alternate realities in the 50+ books she has illustrated and fine art prints. She also took time to answer our questions. Thanks Elise!

What is the first drawing that you remember doing?

I know I drew all of the time but I remember copying Durer's engraving of "Knight, Death and the Devil" one summer holiday. I was quite young and the horse ended up a bit like a long hippo but it was a labour of love, and how it turned out didn't really matter.
"Knight, Death and the Devil" (detail) by Albrecht Dürer

"Knight, Death and the Devil" (detail) by Albrecht Dürer

Fairies by Ida Rentoul Outhwaite

Fairies by Ida Rentoul Outhwaite

Was there a special book for you growing up, and what was it?

It was all little pieces of a puzzle - an EH Shepard illustration of Eeyore or Piglet and Pooh looking for Heffalumps, the flower fairies of Ida Rentoul Outhwaite, Bluebeard illustrated by Edmund Dulac, Norman Lindsay's satyrs, 30s adventure chronicles... I remember fragments and they are still burned into my mind.

How does it feel to excite young minds and do you consider yourself as a child when creating your images?

When I created "Imagine a city" I wondered and worried about whether it would make any money or not. It had, after all, taken four times longer than any other book I'd ever done and this is my only job. Then I had the realisation that I would have loved this book as a kid. I decided then that it was enough to have created something I genuinely loved and felt really proud to have brought into the world. 
© Elise Hurst

© Elise Hurst

How does your work keep you young ... or doesn't it?

I create for myself and it is part of my job to engage with my inner child. I think that is so healthy - mostly because our childhood is full of possibility and sometimes we need to be reminded that there are options in our lives. All too often we seem bound to a path and forget that we willingly turned down it. Engaging with your inner child, using your imagination, realising the value of time spent in frivolous, happy pursuits is something that we too often neglect. Imagination is not just about flying fish and alternate realities, it is also a useful tool to changing life for the better and taking a chance to realise your dreams. But it takes practise and engagement. I love to watch people becoming lost in a strange image and hear the stories that leap from them. There is an energy that radiates from them which is beautiful.
© Elise Hurst

© Elise Hurst

What was the experience seeing your work published in a book for the first time?

It never ceases to be exciting. People say that you "made it" when your first book is published, but it is really just the first step on a long adventurous path.  

 

© Elise Hurst

© Elise Hurst

Can you let us know what's currently in your CD player/ on your Turntable/ in your Spotify queue?

Emile Simon for magic, the Fratellis and Furbelows for energy, the soundtracks to Amelie and The Piano for the long journey of a difficult work.