Alia Hamaoui’s work was some of the strongest I came across during my visit to the Camberwell UAL degree show in London this summer. Thrilled to share it here along with her thoughts on process and influence as she transitions to a new studio after earning her BA this year.
Can you tell me a little bit about you?
I am half Lebanese and half English and I grew up between the two countries and spent some time in France. I went to school in Somerset before moving to London to do my Foundation and BA. I just graduated from doing my BA at Camberwell College of Arts where I studied on the Painting course.
When did you first discover art, or realize you wanted to make it yourself?
Well, as a kid my mum always made me do crafty projects, so I always liked working with my hands and playing with lots of materials. But I was always rubbish in art class at junior school. But it wasn’t until my mid teens that I really became interested in art at all. I actually started to get really into photo journalism initially and then from there started to really become consumed by making art.
What ideas are you exploring in your practice?
In my practice recently I have been trying to reconfigure materials from a specific environment to try and create pieces that have a strong sense of atmosphere. In a way I am trying to create a modern day relic. I am also trying to combine new media imagery, like advertisement or hoarding to comment on our relationship to how we consume exotic or cultural locations. I guess I am trying to combine a strong sense of physicality in my material choices with images that create an illusionary sense of space and using a metaphorical visual language to link the two.
Recently I have been really into bath houses and all the work I have been making has come out of an attempt to construct and deconstruct elements of the Hammam environment.
What is your process like?
It really depends, some pieces are pretty planned out as they require levels of construction. Other pieces are much more organic in their process and kind of just develop naturally. But most of the time a piece develops from an image I have found or a decision try out a new material. I tend to work on a few things at once, so there is always a cross over of an element of one of my pieces spilling into another.
I am always looking at images and just loads of stuff really- things like building blue print drawings I think are pretty cool. Stills from 70’s documentaries, or I have a folder of just images of different kind of towel racks.
What is your studio like?
I have just moved in to a new studio with some friends from Camberwell which is great.
What do you find most daunting, challenging, or frustrating about pursuing art?
Right now, the idea of trying to find time to make work whilst having a full time job to survive in London seems pretty daunting.
What are three words you would use to describe your work?
New Media Relic
What are you working on right now?
I am working on some smaller pieces that are made from soap, they are kind of like pocket-sized keychains of some older work. I wanted to try and make a work that felt a bit like a snow globe, in where you have a whole little world trapped under this glass and just shoved on your shelf.