Student Artist Profile: Hadassah Büchner

Image description: Hadassah painting in the garden

The second instalment of the Student Artist Profile series is with Hadassah Büchner. Hadassah is in her second year of graduate medicine at St. Anne’s. She hopes to combine her love for both medicine and art in the future and her ideal scenario would be working four days a week for the NHS and spending the rest of her time painting in a studio and running art classes.

Question: How would you describe your art style? 

Hadassah: Messy, experimental and spontaneous. I’ve never been a perfectionist so I prefer large canvases or sculpture.

December (2012): This was one of the first paintings I exhibited in a gallery, and also won a “Highly Commended” award. I chose the title because I felt that his expression reflected my feelings about December – a month that can be difficult for many people.

Q: Where do you find inspiration? 

H: I love going to art galleries or wandering around town with my camera. Book covers are also a favourite of mine. All great painters studied other artists’ work so I never feel bad making a sketch of a lovely painting or design. Then I take elements I like from it (the pattern, the technique or colour palette) and make my own piece.

October (2013): I painted this because I thought it would be a good idea to have a series of twelve portraits, one for every month. Later I felt that I wanted to explore other subject matter but my next painting will be centred around a month.

Q: Does your art carry a message? 

H: Not usually! My favourite quote about art which I think defines my attitude to my work, loosely translated from the German is, “all art is dedicated to joy”. (Friedrich von Schiller). Even when depicting sad subject matter I think there should be a joy to the process of making it.

Oudayas (2016): Using cardboard to add texture to paintings has become a favourite technique of mine. I painted this as a souvenir after time spent working in Morocco.

Q: What have you had the most fun painting? 

H: My floor! I tore out all the carpet in my room but knew I couldn’t lay floorboards easily during lockdown. So I chose a neutral tone and painted patterns on the floor, as well as decorative edges where the floor meets the wall. It felt a bit crazy but the end effect has been nice.

Untitled (2020): After living in Oxford for five years I finally painted the Rad Cam, seeing it lit up during the Christmas Light Festival inspired this piece.

Q: What keeps you motivated to paint during term? How do you make time for it? 

H: It can be really difficult as Oxford degrees are so full on. Everyone’s different but I’m a project person; if I’ve got a big painting or another idea then I chip away at it slowly in the evenings (or work intensively over a weekend). I’ve never found the motivation to do little sketches or other quick things unless they’re leading up to a final piece.

Casa Iguana (2018): Inspired by a trip to Barcelona to look at Gaudi’s architecture.

Q: How has lockdown affected your art and creativity? 

H: It’s been great having more time to paint but harder to find inspiration from outside or get materials. I’ve started using Instagram or Oxford Dailyinfo’s creative blog to find interesting visuals that spark project ideas. Recently, I was inspired by an old t-shirt from Australia and painted a huge aboriginal-style scene on some cardboard.

Image credit: Hadassah Büchner