Lesley Hilling – Inspiring Upcycling Artists Series

On Longing (Detail)

On Longing (Detail)

We recently came across the stunning work of Lesley Hilling after hearing about her upcoming exhibition ‘On Longing‘ that will be open 30th June – 30th July 2017 at Knight Webb Gallery, 54 Atlantic Road, Brixton SW9 8PZ

‘I work with the hues of the wood as if I were a painter’
-Lesley Hilling

ON LONGING is the second exhibition by the internationally acclaimed, Brixton resident artist, Lesley Hilling. A 2017 Aesthetica Art Prize finalist, Lesley has an ardent fan base of admirers and collectors spanning her career through her signature style and use of recycled materials.

We asked Lesley to tell us more about herself and her inspiring work.

Please tell us a bit about yourself

Lesley Hilling

Where are you based?
Brixton, south London, been here for 35 years

Do you run your business full time?
I work as an artist full time

How long have you been a professional artist?
Since the nineties

Did you attend college/university or are you self taught?
I went to college but studied Graphic design so as far as fine art is concerned I’m self taught

Lesley Hilling

Lesley Hilling

Please tell us about your work

Copenhagen Detail

Copenhagen Detail

What do you create?
I make sculptures from salvaged wood and materials that once had a different life, often things that other people have thrown away. I make wall pieces, towers, doors and spherical pieces that hang.

Do you use eco friendly methods?
I don’t use any methods that would hurt the environment. I use dowelling and gluing. I tried using eco friendly glue several times but everything fell apart! I don’t think they’ve quite cracked that one yet. I try not to bring anything new into the world – there’s enough stuff here already!

Which is your most popular creation?
An early piece called ‘Composite One’ It’s made up of 28 small boxes and it sits on the wall. I made it when I was looking after my mum – she had Alzhiemers – and it’s full of her possessions and memories. I think people really like it as it has my mum’s story in it.

Can you tell us about the first piece you created?
To be truthful I can’t remember the first piece I made, my early work was very like the American artist Joseph Cornell’s. Small box constructions full of loss and longing. As I went along I took parts of them to make other pieces until I felt I had found my voice as an artist.



Do you have a favourite piece?
It’s always the one that I’m currently working on

Are you working on any new lines/collections?
At the moment I’m finishing the pieces for my show in July at the Knight Webb Gallery. It’s called ‘On Longing’ and the work is very nostalgic and full of ephemera that Ive collected over the years, also things that belonged to my parents. After that I want to do something on a larger scale. I recently discovered the art of Noah Purifoy and that has inspired me to take a fresh look at what I’m creating and maybe even try some new directions. I think the coming year will be a time of experimentation.

On Longing

Do your undertake commissions?
Yes I do – and after the show I will be making a piece specifically for someone’s home. A round piece from wood and glass.

Have you won any awards?
This year I’ve been shortlisted for The Aesthitica magazine prize. I was long listed in 2015 – so I’m getting better!

Your thoughts

Beyond The Blue

Beyond The Blue

Which artists inspire you?
When I first started making work it was Joseph Cornel and Louise Nevelson who really got me excited but today I like more contemporary artists like Theaster Gates, Mark Bradford, Noah Purifoy, Leonardo Drew and Chiharu Shiota

Do you have any advice/tips for aspiring artists?
Make mistakes, don’t be afraid of failing or being rejected. Do what you believe in and work very hard at it. Someone once told me that you have to ‘live and breathe’ it, and I think thats really true.

Where can your work be seen and purchased?

+44 0 7939530326

And my website is:


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About Kirstie Adamson

Kirstie Adamson is a magazine & junkmail collage artist. Co-Founder of EcoCreate art & craft network and a passionate revamp crafter!


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