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Art Works: Helena Tyce

21 November 19 interview: LeftLion

The Savoy piece was created as an ode to an unsung hero of Nottingham architecture... 

I’m a Scunny gal at heart. Scunthorpe isn’t as bad as you might think. There’s always been an incredible arts scene for a little industrial town. John Peel used to come and DJ every year around the time of my birthday. There was a lot of intense sketching and listening to The Smiths as a kid. There still is. 

The Savoy was created for a solo exhibition last year. I wanted to paint some unsung heroes of Nottingham architecture. We’ve seen The Council House and Wollaton recreated so many times (and rightly so) but there’s a lot of beauty elsewhere too. I also painted One Thoresby Street, Lady Bay Bridge and Broadway Cinema. 

I trained in design so I often work in individual elements which I paint, print, draw and collage digitally. The exhibition was all originals – no mucking about and tweaking on the Mac afterwards. It gave me a lot of freedom to work into and collage over certain parts as the piece progressed. It was a more organic process.

I think art always needs some unexpected detail and words are great for that. They take the viewer into the piece a little bit further. I knew I wanted to pay homage to Nottingham’s film history but it was tricky choosing when there are so many good Shane Meadows films. A Room for Romeo Brass had to be on there as one of my all-time favourites, so I stuck it on the listings board.

My husband is a writer (@rhymenoreason) and we do quite a few collaborations – he pens all the poetry that features in my work. He’s a bit like a modern-day Pam Ayres, which he’ll take as a compliment. If you need a Brexit or socialist Valentine card, he’s your man. 

I have plans to make Christmas crackers. If I see another useless, tiny plastic comb on the dinner table I’ll scream, so I’ve created illustrated Nottingham eco-crackers. They include crap jokes and hats – put your own mini brandy in and Bob’s your uncle. 

Helena Tyce website