Ruskin Profile

First year Ruskin student Charlotte Hyman discusses her interest in art, experience in Oxford and fashion icons.

Which area are you most interested in and why?

A lot of my work to date has been focused on photographic processes, which interest me because of the opportunities they present to transform something often seen as a prosaic documentary record into an artefact in its own right. This is because you cannot reproducethe images like you can with a digital photograph. I also find them intriguing because of the illusion of reality fostered by the photographic image. There is a widely-held assumption that what is shown in a photograph must have existed in reality, whereas imagery created with these processes exist only upon the paper on which they develop.

What inspired that interest?CHEMIGRAM1

My interest was originally stimulated by the ‘Shadow Catchers’ show at the V&A, which introduced me to the concept of ‘camera-less photography’ – images created using only light and chemical reactions – along with artists such as Pierre Cordier and Gary Fabian-Miller, who have inspired a lot of my work.

How would you describe your fashion sense? Is it influenced by your art?

My fashion sense is best described as ‘totally impractical’. I wear far too many white shirts for an art student. Margot Tenenbaum is my ultimate style icon; I wish that I could pull off a tennis dress and fur coat with as much panache as her. I wouldn’t say that it’s influenced by my art, although I do wear a lot of black and white, so perhaps subconsciously my interest in photography leads me to favour a monochrome aesthetic!

If you could pick one artist (dead or alive) to paint your portrait who would it be and why?

Petrus Christus, because his ‘Portrait of a Young Girl’ is exquisite and I would love to be captured giving such a sassy sideway glance as the one with which he portrays her.

How would you define art?/ would you define art?

That’s a very interesting question to ask now, during a time when it seems as though art has evolved to the point that anything can be considered as such. It used to be very straightforward; art was something created by people who were skilled artisans – painters, sculptors etc. – with the purpose of being aesthetically pleasing. However, much of today’s art isn’t even ‘made’ anymore; it can be rumpled bed sheets or a tin of soup. And certainly not all of it can be considered ‘beautiful’. I guess I would say that art, in its simplest sense, is a form of communication, involving whichever materials facilitate the expression of the artist’s ideas.

Which three famous works would you want in your house and why?

Turner’s ‘Vama și Santa Maria della Salute, Venetia’ because it’s beautiful and Venice is one of my favourite cities.

John Singer Sargent’s ‘Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose’ because I’ve adored it all my life. I saw it in a book when I was six and remembered it for years although I didn’t know what it was; I only found out when I came across it at the Tate Britain. Looking at it reminds me of my childhood.

Jeff Koons’ “Balloon Dog” simply because it’s fun, and if it were mine I would be able to climb on it with no security guards chasing me down.