Hannah Jensen, paint carver from Christchurch, New Zealand. Photo © Petra Mingneau
1.Tell us what you do and your beginnings.
I layer boards with up to 70 layers of acrylic paint and carve back through the layers to reveal the colours below. It was the result of a happy accident at university in 2003; 18 years later I am still passionate about carving into paint and continue to push myself within this unique technique. It is textural and topographical in its appearance and it brings me a lot of joy.
I am inspired by my time in nature and when I am not carving in the studio I am in the great outdoors, adventuring. I now have the honour of teaching my skill which is a wonderful way to share the joy, I endeavour to create online courses this year for those who can’t attend weekend workshops here in New Zealand.
2.What are your favourite museums in the world? Why?
I adore the Tate modern, especially as that means I get to visit my brother and his family in London. The amazing building along the Thames with floors of incredible art from all around the world, is not only remarkable but educational in its depth of work. Also the wonderful MoMA in New York, room after room of magic to be inspired by.
3.How important are social networks in your business? And which platform do you prefer and why.
I believe social networks are an incredible tool to use. I don’t think they are necessary however to engage with the current audience, Instagram, which I affiliate more with, has a global reach that your local gallery may not. I adore creating exhibition spaces for people to come and view my works and sit with them, however, I also enjoy sharing the journey and process via social channels from my studio leading up to events.
Instagram for me has created a platform where I can share my daily doings from my studio to inspire others to be creative or simply share my passion for those who are interested in watching the process unfold.
4.What are your future projects?
With a full list of commissions ahead, I am currently working alongside clients to bring their ideas to life. However, there is always a passion project ticking away in the back of my mind and right now that is a four-metre rhino carved with delicate China-like patterns and a five-metre whale filled with flowers. I want to create conversations about conservation.
5.To create greater engagement among museums, artists and professionals, do you have any advice for cultural projects such as #MuseumWeek?
As much as I am an advocate for using social media, the greatest way to get social is actually being able to visit places and interact with the art, space and people around. Creating local community projects aligned with #MuseumWeek. Things have shifted with Covid, however, I know this time will create an even greater sense of wanting to come together and share when we can.
Interview by Fabio Pariante, journalist
Hannah Jensen (Bath, 1984) is a multidisciplinary English artist, notably a paint carver, she graduated from Auckland University of Technology in 2004 with a Bachelor of Visual Arts in printmaking.
For each work, the artist pours 40-70 layers of paint on a cardboard before proceeding with the engraving which, depending on the painting, the depth of the cut and its angle, the color tone changes. Jensen has won various awards and in 2009 she was a finalist at the World of Wearable Arts Competition, and in 2012 instead, she was one of four artists selected to present the site-specific installation work at New Zealand Fashion Week.
Among Jensen’s most recent projects is “Wild”: eight large-scale animal works exhibited at the Allpress Studio. The artist has also been a volunteer art teacher at Starship Hospital and continues to donate her works for charity auctions, as well as focusing her production on animals such as whales, leopards and horses. Hannah Jensen lives and works in Christchurch, New Zealand.