One of the ways in which we support local artists is through commissions. One of our major mural sites is affectionately known as the Duchamp Wall and every 6 months we commission a local artist to produce a work for the space that is both responsive but also extends their practise.
Our newest Duchamp Wall commission is a larger than life cartoon called Communication Matters by local artist Ellie Hopley. Ellie creates under her label Shuturp and mainly uses Instagram to get her message across.
‘I started Shuturp almost 5 years ago now! It has grown into something I could’ve never imagined. My art continues to grow and change with my feelings and environments and I can’t wait to see where it’s going to take me in the future,‘ she said.
Ellie makes savvy social observations on daily life and her work is work is relatable, humorous and honest.
‘I definitely thing Instagram is a great platform for artists. Without it I wouldn’t have the successful business that I have today. It’s free, it allows you to engage with your followers and build relationships with other brands. I think, for businesses, Instagram is great. (Influencers are another story…)’
Ellie is passionate about mental health and the work she has created for the Duchamp Wall raises awareness about mental illness, and how ill-equipped we feel to care for each other.
‘I grew up with a lot of mental health issues (predominantly anxiety and depression) and I didn’t realise anyone else felt the same as me which made it difficult for me to reach out for help. I want/need people to know that they are not alone in their darkest times. I want to share my feelings and thoughts to help those people who don’t have the support that they need or perhaps they may be too scared to reach out like I was. I think it’s so important to talk about mental health and make it an open discussion because it takes over people’s lives and I want to make a difference.’
This cartoon confronts our responses to others through black humour, highlighting our weaknesses, ultimately aiming to create conversations.
‘I really just want to make people think. I want to hopefully encourage people to change how they approach these situations. I understand that it can be uncomfortable for some people that don’t have personal experience with mental health problems but it’s so important that we give someone that is struggling our time. If you’re not a hugger, you can always give your time. You never know what it can do to improve someone’s day and potentially save a life.’
Communication Matters can be viewed in the foyer at HOTA Central from now until January 2020.
Ellie will also be back on 12 October to run ArtLab | Big Art Feels. A workshop for young artists who can put all the feelings (big, small, weird and wild) onto a canvas. Ellie will ensure they are confident in their work and proud of their creations.
Image credit: Ellie Hopley: Communication matters