Phill Hopkins | BasementArtsProject Advent Calendar 2020

During this time of Advent, in the lead-up to Christmas, BasementArtsProject will be inviting subscribers to view a series of photographs by Phill Hopkins. Each day a new photograph will be available in the online viewing room. If you would like to view the collection then please follow the link HERE

Introduction: Phill Hopkins | A Year in Photographs 2020

I’ve come to think that my taking-of photographs is much like my process and reasons for making drawings. It concerns the capturing (and all those other words and phrases describing a hunting process, akin to the “taking-down” of a wild beast!) of an idea, sometimes for its own sake and sometimes as a note for another activity (but I don’t always know that when looking through the viewfinder).
During this pandemic I’ve taken more photographs than ever before. But when I look at the images from this year there is a sameness in them. On one hand, this is not surprising as our activities have been limited due to being locked down, but on the other, it relates to my overall working practise.
My friend, the artist and writer Derek Horton, wrote a piece in response to my paint chart drawing in 2014 ('Walnut Shadow Hoar Frost Satin Heart Retreat Gloss Room Room - The Drawings of Phill Hopkins’*) and this has been very much on my mind since the virus gifted us time to reflect. In it Derek writes,

“His drawings have a devotional quality. Drawing on the humble, mundane materials and images that dominate our everyday experience (and I deliberately use the expression "drawing on" in both its literal and metaphorical sense), they worry away at them, pull them back and forth, reflect on them repeatedly, compulsively, until their physicality and their meaning is transformed. Like rosary beads worn down by a lifetime of prayer, or a totem constantly made and remade, through the very act of repetition their quotidian ordinariness is transcended”.

This piece relates to a series of drawings made some six years ago (those who know my work know that six years is a long time for me) but I think it is true to say that it relates to my photographs as much as it does to the whole of my art making. Taking photographs of the same thing or similar is perhaps akin to an archaeological digging away, a repeated scraping-away to isolate an image in order to focus on it, to discover what it is. Derek suggests that my work has a "devotional" aspect and I think this is very true. I often make series and my photographs are part of this working pattern. I am mindful of my body when looking through the viewfinder, how my feet are placed, my posture, my grip on the camera; when I reflect I see this as a kind of physical or body prayer, a meditative contemplative activity.

All of the photographs included in Advent 2020 by Phill Hopkins are available to buy. Enquire via Contact page.