When encountering art before knowing the artist, the imagination runs riot. Would they be tall or short? Happy or sad? How will they dress? On viewing the varying types of creative media that Rachel Hodgson puts forth into the world — from her specific style of photography to rude and crude graffiti — it’s hard to discern who this artist really is. After meeting her, it all clicks together. Hodgson is here for all women, all types of femmes and anyone who isn’t afraid to embrace bright pink, saggy tits in a minimalist obsessed Instagram world.
While Hodgson confesses to her own work being childish and playful, there’s a seriousness to her low brow art — a sense of diverse representation and grounded reality that would otherwise be lost in highly processed, over conceptualised art projects. Hodgson’s appearance echoes these colourful portraits of the world around her and her innermost thoughts.. Contrasting pineapple prints with chunky shoes and a beret to boot, you’re not likely to see Hodgson’s style often but you don’t want to — it’s so undeniably hers.
Speaking to Polyester for our What Makes Me series in collaboration with Converse, we follow the story of how scribbling on her sister’s Chucks turned into hand-colouring photographs and fighting for her place as a woman on the graffitied walls of London.. While URL versus IRL rages on, Rachel Hodgson has carved herself a perfect, personal space in both worlds.
What themes would you say your work deals with?
Rachel Hodgson: I’d say femininity, gender, burliness, a kind of crudity. I like childish play. Childish, playful, colourful stuff that’s not very high brow, it’s very low tech media types of things. Working with crayons, stuff like that.
With your drawings in particular but also your photographic work, why would you say it’s important for you to represent the non typical body or convey a sense of body positivity through what you do?
Rachel Hodgson: A lot of my drawings are a way of reflecting myself. I obviously don’t see myself as a beautiful, skinny, model person. So that’s probably where that’s come from. I also just want to represent the people around me more realistically. It’s this idea that a lot of the things I draw are seen as, ‘that’s not the ideal, that’s not what people want to see’ — I kind of want to make all of them seem lovely.
How would you say who you are as an artist inspires how you dress?
Rachel Hodgson: I try and dress with lots of colour and this idea of childishness. I do still try to enjoy what I’m wearing and create some kind of mood or feeling of fun. If I’m in a boring outfit then I feel that — boring. My tattoos are quite spontaneous. Fun. A lot of them are stick and poke tattoos from friends, which are more about the experience. It’s nice to have that, all the time, on my body, forever. A smiley flower – lovely! An apple? Great!
How would you say your personal style has changed since you were a teenager?
Rachel Hodgson: It’s changed in the way that I was probably more self aware of what I was wearing in terms of trying to be cool and trying to fit in a little bit. Now I definitely have an “I don’t care” attitude and am also able to share work that is more personal. Ultimately I do share more on the internet than I ever would when I was younger. I was much more of a voyeur of people that did that on Tumblr or wherever. I’d be like, “I’m really glad they they’re doing it but I literally can’t say anything about myself.” I was just not comfortable. Whereas now I just don’t care. I will say if I’m sad or whatever — I don’t mind looking silly.