Interview with Ella Husbands - Winner of the Cass Art Prize at the Hix Award 2017

by Cass Art Staff

At Cass Art, we know that graduating from Art School is a key moment in an artist’s creative journey. This is why we are thrilled to be supporting The Hix Award 2017 – a competition set up to support art students and recent graduates. We interview The Hix Award runner-up Winner Ella Husbands, who won £1000 worth of Cass Art Vouchers. We find out about  the concept behind her work and her plans for life after Art School.

Hi Ella! Congratulations on winning the runner-up prize at the Hix Award 2017. Do you have any ideas what you’ll do with the £1000 worth of Cass Art vouchers?

Thank you so much! I’ve been looking at some beautiful metallic paints called ‘Pebeo Fantasy Moon’ that can be applied to multiple surfaces such as glass or metal and dry with an enamel-like pearlescent finish. I would like to experiment with painting these onto aluminum and steel and to film the process of dripping and mixing the paints onto metal using a macro lens to focus on the colours and textures produced. I’d also like to get some large fabric canvases and some colourful fabric dyes and printing inks.

You’ve created an incredible immersive artwork for the Hix Award Exhibition. Can you tell us about the concept behind it?

The piece aims to immerse the viewer in an environment that expresses altered sensory perception. The work consists of two video loops which are projected onto sharp geometric sculptural shapes. I aim to connect the viewer to my personal experience of feelings of sensory overload brought about by the early stages of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS/ME). The two films are full of dizzying imagery with abstract and familiar scenes, one film focusing on urban environments which creates an unsettling effect and the other containing more soothing natural scenes; the two films create tension in opposition to each other.

You’ve recently graduated with a BA in Fine Art from Central Saint Martins. Can you tell us about your experience of studying at Art School?

My experience was very positive, everybody was open and supportive of one another and very hardworking which was motivating when creating art work. The course was an ideal place to harness your own experiences and things you are passionate about and to then be led by the tutors to learn, research, and create something meaningful from it. It was also great to be able to see everybody else’s processes when creating art work and the course really equips you to be able to critically analyse your own work after you leave.

Ella Husbands Artwork

Who are your inspirations for your art practice?

I really connect with the work of Michael Snow, particularly his video and sculptural work that cleverly manipulates the viewer’s sensory perception. I also admire the sculptural work of Lygia Pape, video work by Steven Claydon, video and installation by Bruce Nauman and Yayoi Kusama’s immersive installations. I’ve also recently been enjoying the installation work of Dominic Hawgood who I discovered last month at the Brighton digital festival.

Do you have any plans for your next art project? Are there any new mediums you would like to try out?

I’m working on creating a new installation piece using metal which is a material I have never worked with before. I’m planning to have digital images printed directly onto aluminum composite material which will also be cut and manipulated into sculptures. I am also planning to project videos onto the sculptures. The piece will explore the notion of perceived time and the slowing down and speeding up of time in relation to how you perceive it. The metal should produce some interesting reflections and shadows and the videos will hopefully create rhythmic patterns to manipulate the viewer’s sense of passing time.

Thank you Ella! 


Leading image: Photo of Ella Husbands’s immersive installation ‘Embodied Distortion’

Second image: Photo of Hix Award Founder Mark Hix and Cass Art Prize Winner Ella Husbands

Third image: Photo of Ella Husbands’s immersive installation ‘Embodied Distortion’

Fourth image: Photo of Ella Husbands’s immersive installation ‘Embodied Distortion’

Feeling Inspired? 

See more of Ella Husbands work here

Find out more about the Hix Award 

Back to blog