Dannielle Hodson

Outside In 2009 Award Winner

Article taken from Pallant House Gallery magazine, issue 22

Dannielle Hodson is one of six Award-Winners from last year’s Outside In competition for outsider and marginalised artists. Here, she talks about her background and influences ahead of her solo show in the Studio

I was always artistic. I did a BTEC in art and design and then went to St Martins to do women’s fashion.  The BTEC was a real eye-opener – my teachers taught me how to be free, how to look and not stop looking and to go with your instincts and feelings. I owe a lot to them. St Martins taught me that I didn’t know everything and that I would always only rely on myself.

Doodling is very important to me. As a child my Nan would get me to scribble on a piece of paper and look inside and find as many faces as I could. It became such a natural way of seeing for me that I can see faces and people in all kinds of things now  – marble flooring, wooden fences and torn off tube posters.  She opened up a magical world for me. It’s a very safe place and when I was lost inside, I was always very happy.  

I am influenced by everything around me.  I can’t look at art alone as an influence however Pablo Picasso is my hero. I feel his art is alive and I want mine to be too.

I find it strange I’m an outsider artist. I have had some training in the arts but it was being marginalized by society that caused me to have success.  When you have nothing, the things you truly have are all you have to work with and I guess being in a margin must provoke this in others as it did in me.

The influence of prison and justice is prevalent in my exhibition although not obvious. It is not about the past.  It is about how I feel now in response to those things and how I will grow from them.  I have tried to question how people receive what you give them as a first impression.  

To be an Outside In winner was phenomenal. I really did feel at the time that I was absolutely hopeless, and the painting I was doing was the only way I could keep in touch with what was normal for me in such extreme conditions of hardship. For this lifeline to pull me out of such a dark place and give me hope and opportunity was incredible and for me proves it’s what’s on the inside that counts. If you stick to what and who you are, this will always look after you in good and bad times.

Exhibition in the Studio at Pallant House Gallery: 28 September – 31 October 2010

Image: Dannielle Hodson, Swallow