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The Localist

Meet the Artist: Maria Hatling

Maria Hatling

In Shoreditch, you’ll find Maria Hatling’s geometric and colourful mixed media paintings on canvas and paper, combining acrylic, spray paint, collage and embroidery. In her current work Maria explores the way we as human beings relate and interact with each other. She is interested in striking a balance between free expression of colour and brush strokes fuelled by human emotion and finding a moment of stillness.

How has your work evolved over time?

In the beginning my work was more clear-cut and rigid. The more I paint and explore mark-making on larger canvas I realise that it’s the looser, more physical and haphazardly made strokes and marks that really speak to me. I still apply structure in my paintings but I am pretty sure that at some point this safety net will be removed and replaced by something more freeing. Painting is in many ways a practice of allowing the unconscious within to come to the foreground.

I am committed to exploring how my visual language evolves over time and by trying and failing, my method is slowly becoming more layered but also more transparent. I like that duality.

Have you discovered / learned anything exploring your recent focus on human connection and interaction?

If this was not crystal clear before, I have certainly learnt over the past two years that spending physical time with and observing people in person is something that can never be replaced. In an area where so many of our daily interactions are online this is becoming more and more important to me. I’m over Zooms and web chats. I need to be out in the world!

Do you believe in love languages? What would yours be?

I guess there is some truth in love languages. My love language would be words of affirmation with quality time coming in as a second.

How do you build connection with others?

When I was younger, growing up in Norway, I was very shy. Nowadays I will describe myself more as an introvert/extrovert. I feel more confident seeking out places and people I want to engage with today than even just three years ago. I think this shift has coincided with realising that with painting, I have finally found where I belong.

Where’s your studio, and why did you choose this neighbourhood?

My studio is in Holborn at Cockpit Arts. Here I share a building with more than ninety other makers and creatives. There aren’t may other painters at Cockpit Arts but I find that cross disciplinary interaction is still great for inspiration and interaction. It’s just really nice to know that you aren’t alone, you know?

Also, having a studio in central London is great as there in no excuse to not use the city.

Which book / film / album changed the way you think?

Book: Ninth Street woman by Mary Gabriel.
The publication of this book highlights how women have previously been written out of art history as soon as art became an industry. Nice to finally get a coherent insight into the formative years and early careers of painters like Krasner, Frankenthaler and Mitchell and to understand their true roles within the formation of the abstract expressionist movement.

Film: The Red Shoes both as a film and ballet.
The creative energy and obsessive compulsion to keep creating and suffering for your art that drives this movie is both fascinating, frightening and familiar. Loved it from the very first time I saw it.

Album: Bjork – Post. I was fifteen and very much into indie rock when this album came out, Bjork’s second. It really brought it home to me that being individual and producing a sound so new and different that it was hard to place was really where it was at. I have to mention Patti Smith and her album Horses too. Possibly the album I have listened to the most in my life. Patti rocks! I love her energy and drive and admire her longevity as both a singer songwriter, artist and writer.


Photographs by Joana Nunes.