Salford University Graduate Artist Jenni Hill

Here we share and showcase the work of artist Jenni Hill, who has recently completed her studies at Salford University. Jenni describes her work as ‘I explore issues surrounding gender, identity, feminism and pop culture. Using silk screen printing, photography and cosmetics I address how modern culture, film and the media have an impact on society; shaping the identity of both men and women. Much of my work focuses upon the depiction of children – their faces caked in make up to explore the growth of child beauty pageants in the UK.’

I’ve really enjoyed using cosmetics as an alternative to paint and I think I’d find it hard to go back to a more traditional medium. Make up is so much more interesting than paint, different types of make up do different things, lipstick creates a wonderful thick glossy effect whilst eye shadow is dusty and often difficult to apply, but it’s also a good way of adding subtle colour. I often mix various cosmetics together to create a thick paste to throw onto the image. I tend to work on large wooden boards or really smooth paper rather than canvas as it makes it much easier to blend various cosmetics together. I’m greatly inspired by artists such as Stella Vine, Marlene Dumas, Annie Kevans and although her work is sculpture based, Samantha Donnelly.

I do feel a little nervous about continuing my practice now that I’ve left university and am left in the big wide world, I’d love to pick up where I left off and continue making art, perhaps on a much smaller scale this time. I loved taking part in the University Degree Show and hope to eventually show my work in exhibitions elsewhere. I’ve moved back home with 14 paintings each 4 foot by 4 foot in size, my Mum doesn’t want the large ones on the walls because she thinks they’re a bit scary, so they’re going to have to stay in the shed until I find a home for each of them. I’m hoping to eventually have enough money for my own studio, then I can spread out and fill a few walls with them.

At the start of my final year at University I spent a lot of time looking at the representation of women in film and the limited roles there are for women. I wanted to swap the powerful men in popular films with strong none sexualised women. So I dressed my Grandma up in a suit and made her put her ‘angry face’ on to play a female alternative to Don Corleone in The Godfather. I also bought a bunch of suits for myself and a few friends to re-enact a scene from Reservoir Dogs. I’d love to continue with this aswell as my makeup paintings as it was so much fun and I feel that the images subtly sum up my thoughts on the film industry’s reluctance to cast women in these roles.

Follow Jenni on her Website, Facebook and @_jennihill on Twitter.

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