Tooled Up: Joel Hopkinson, Reverie Saw, Red Kite / by John Hooper

From Art & Graft

I am going to mirror the release of images by Art & Graft over the coming days. I will also duplicate their information about the images. Continuing below:

When we got in touch with Joel about the show he had an idea at the ready and an ace large vintage saw to go. Originally he had planned to etch and print onto the metal, however, after a few setbacks it became apparent that this wasn’t going to be feasible. 

An excellent example of the problem solving nature of the creative process, Hopkinson instead cut the metal and crafted a wing from the blade. 

Joel Hopkinson’s work is predominantly fine ink drawings and the level of detail and care present in his 2D work is reflected in the delicate, sweeping lines of the wing. As Joel states,  “Tools can all be seen as charged instruments of potential, representing an optimism and state of flux. This is particularly true for finer made hand tools that exist as objects of craft; often these tools are emblematic of their own function by being expertly made, and aesthetically considered, indeed they become collectors items of material value - rare specimens. 

From a more personal viewpoint, as a maker; these fine hand tools whilst fitting the hand pleasingly, hold the promise of things to come, a material realisation of the imagination; as if all the dumb inert matter in the world can be transformed with the elegant sweep of the expert, the incisive swoop of vision; and then, at the end, with the uncut wood still in the vice, the big saw can be hung back up on its peg to be gazed at, maybe to be more of an idea of a tool than one to be used.”

Photo: John Hooper

Whilst studying sculpture at Camberwell College of Arts, Joel Hopkinson fully realised the importance that drawing had to his artistic practice - a constant source of both contemplative thought and expression. 

As this expression evolved, drawing and its process became the core of Hopkinson’s activities, moving toward what at first seemed to be a rigid and disciplined approach - using very fine ink pens to create intircately detailed pieces. This way of working has become an immersive and organic process, where the production of the drawing and its subjective matter have been intertwined. Once started, both conceptually and physically the drawings instruct their own destination. 

This sometimes labourious methodology affords an opportunity to reframe and look again at the subject.