Interview with Rebeka-Louise Lee - Winner of the Cass Art Materials Bursary in the Hermione Hammond Drawing Prize 2017

by Cass Art Staff

We’re thrilled to be supporting the Hermione Hammond Drawing Prize 2017 by awarding a £250 Materials Bursary to the runner-up winner. We interview the recipient of the award Rebeka-Louise Lee, a Fine Art Student at Canterbury Christ Church University, to ask her about the inspiration behind her prize-winning drawings.

Hi Rebeka-Louise! Congratulations on winning the £250 Cass Art Materials Bursary in the Hermione Hammond Drawing Prize. Have you thought about how you’re going to spend the £250 vouchers?

The drawing prize really couldn’t have come at a better time for me really because I’ve recently received an offer to study for an MA at UCA Canterbury so it’ll be handy when it comes to buying new materials and equipment.

The Hermione Hammond celebrates the practice of representational drawing among art students. Was this something that specifically appealed to you?

As an artist I really enjoy translating what I see around me and then exploring how I am going to represent this on a page. I think representation is really important within art work, sometimes not physically reproducing exactly what you see is in front of you is a good thing, adding your own perspective and take on things helps bring the artist into the piece itself.

Can you tell us about your prize-winning drawing? Is it typical of the kind of art work you create in your university course?

My university work at the moment has centred around the concept of my illness. I suffer with temporal lobe epilepsy so I have dedicated my project into documenting what I see in my seizures and transforming these into drawings and large scale etchings.

When I draw I like to capture a time or a moment, representing where I have been and what I have seen. So with this I started to create a journal of places I go past or to on a regular basis and actually it really helped me mentally when I was having my epileptic seizures. Within my seizures I see flashing images of places and scenes which feel familiar but often aren’t. So differentiating between what is real and what isn’t can be difficult. The journal, just like most of my work represents me, my illness and how I’m coping with it all.

You’re currently studying Fine Art at Canterbury Christ Church University.  What’s it like to be an art student there? Is there a big art scene in Canterbury?

I am currently in my final year at university. These past three years have really been the making of me as an artist. My drawing skills have progressed massively and I have discovered a love for etching which I never knew I had. There is so much support here for students who want to further their skills and learn from industry professionals.

Canterbury as an art scene is pretty unique, there are so many rising and emerging artists that live or have passed through here. Canterbury is home to many galleries and companies who offer artists a wide range of opportunities.   

Who are your inspirations in your artistic practice?

There’s actually a local artist call Jonathan Stewardson who I have recently come across and I was so captured by his paintings it actually inspired to me to make my Drawing prize journal. Stewardson paints scenes from places that house atmosphere and emotion. The amount of attention to detail he is able to include to a painting is something which really attracted me to his work.

However, a lot of the time I gain inspiration from the people around me, people who help push me to the next level and keep me moving forward. So I would have to say in a way my family, friends and tutors also play a part in shaping me as person and artist. I think it’s really important to surround yourself with the right kind of people and positivity.

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

For my next project I’m hoping to start another journal of drawing progressing on from my last, maybe working with different materials such as charcoal and paint. I also really want to carry on with etching and really see how far I can push this idea of documentation and then representing what I see into a print. Etching is quite a new skill I have learnt so I think it’s important to work on a practice you enjoy and better yourself as an artist.

Feeling Inspired?

Find out more about the Hermione Hammond Drawing Prize

Read about the different ways Cass Art supports students

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