Student Spotlight: Olivia Carter Hopkins

Olivia Carter Hopkins is a 20 year old Artist specialising in Painting, she graduated from Bristol School of Arts and now studies Fine Art Painting at the University of Brighton. Her work is loud, expressive and honest; using a variety of materials from moving image to oil paints. She’s really into mountains and climbing things and running up hills and having fun. Some of her major influences include, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Thrush Holmes, Phillip Guston and Daniel Johnston.
We caught up with Oli to find out more about her course, her projects and ambitions for the future.

What made you want to study at Brighton University ?

I’m from Bristol which is already an amazing city for creatives so my choices were to either study in London or Brighton. I knew I wanted to be near London so I could be close to extraordinary amount of talent and galleries. The course in Brighton itself won me over, the tutors are amazing and are so supportive and really want to see you work your ass off!

Tell us more about your course! Do you have any favourite subjects?

I study Fine Art Painting so I specialise in painting, it’s a very versatile course though, were encouraged to expand with sculpture, installation and video! The studios are open and you can just roam around and sneak peaks all kinds of work, I really like hanging around the wood workshop there’s always something weird and fun happening and on the off chance there isn’t you can go hit stuff with hammers. I’m looking to go into a bit more print making in my second year!

You work across a lot of different mediums, from painting to video installation.
You have a distinct style when it comes to paintings (pink is almost everywhere!!) – if you had to describe it, what would you say your style is, and how did you develop it?

Haha, I LOVE PINK! It’s sexy and it’s gross! I actually just really love colour, I very rarely work in monochrome because I can’t help myself. A lot of my work is quite abstract and expressive no matter what medium I work in, I guess I’m very illustrative particularly with my smaller pieces. I work a lot in crayons to compliment my naive style of drawing whilst drawing some not-so-naive subjects. My style is FUN, fun art, I’m just a massive kid!

How has your style and work developed while studying?

I don’t think my style has changed, I think I’ve refined it quite a lot. I get a lot of comments from people saying that they can point out a piece of work I’ve done because of my style which makes me feel fuzzy inside. I don’t care if they think it’s good or bad as long as they know it’s mine. I did draw nothing but snakes for a solid 8 months at one point though which could of been a huge give away. I have been trying to do more simpler things alongside my busier works which is something I used to be really bad at but I’m now really enjoying.

Do you have a favourite project or piece that you’ve created?

This is a hard one because depending on what I’ve eaten could change my answer! I’ve hated everything I’ve made at least twice and vice versa. I think my favourite project I’ve worked on so far would be the erotica murals I finished early last year. I burnt a lot latex and offended my grandmother a bunch haha. It began based on the idea of subject matter effecting audience responses, so there was lots of vulgar language and some suggestive shapes and some pretty explicit ones too. It’s also the largest I’ve worked, which I enjoy so much, it really made the works abrasive and loud.

What are you currently working on, is this your first year, right?

I am in my first year yes, it’s been pretty mental. We were basically given a studio and told to ‘GO’. I took this year to start working in oil paint and mixing it with the materials I was already using. I’ve been painting a lot of abstract landscapes and playing around with the idea of the sublime and humans impact on the environment. It all sounds really heavy when I sum it up in one sentence but the series itself is actually really fun. They’re almost like giant colourful postcards, there’s lots of spray paint! I just finished the last piece in that series actually and am working on some smaller illustrative work using lots of text which I’m hoping to tattoo on some lemons. Maybe I’ll call it ‘Bad Fruit’? When life gives you lemons right?

What has been the most valuable thing you’ve learnt as a student?

OOOO. I’ve actually learnt so much, lots about the technical side of my practice and the industry in particular. The one thing I’d say is the most important is that if it isn’t fun don’t do it. Do something else. If it doesn’t make you unbelievably stoked you’re not going to do it well, so change it. But never use that as an excuse to slack you’ve got to work real hard and enjoy it.

Do you have a dream project for the future?

I do actually. I’d love to hand sew a mountain range and have an installation of four seasons that you could walk through. A light changing room with music and projections and fireworks (maybe not fireworks), I’m not sure how I would do it or go about it but I’d love for it to be huge. Almost like a theme park ride, it would last from a certain amount of time. I’m super excited about everything I’m going to do though, I just want to keep making stuff and not stop.