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Lucy Hardcastle and Ryan Hopkinson: new work from their untitled series

Regulars / Ones To Watch 2018

Lucy Hardcastle and Ryan Hopkinson on taking their collaboration in new directions

It’s Nice That’s Ones to Watch shines a light on 12 emerging talents who we think will conquer the creative world in 2018. From a global pool of creative talent, we have chosen our 2018 Ones To Watch for their ability to consistently produce inspiring and engaging work across a diverse range of disciplines. Each of our selections continually pushes the boundaries of what is possible with their creative output. Ones to Watch 2018 is supported by Uniqlo.

Lucy Hardcastle has — as expected — stayed very busy since being featured in our Ones to Watch earlier this year. She is currently juggling a number of projects; working on perfecting her animation art; expanding her creative portfolio through various experimentations; and continuing work with trusted collaborations. “I am focusing on pieces that involve interactivity or a strong narrative that goes beyond the aesthetic I’m known for,” Lucy tells It’s Nice That.


Freelancing has given Lucy the time and space to focus on shaping her work in the directions she intends rather than those dictated to her by others. The last few months have seen the visual artist build on her hand-blown glass work with photographer and long-term collaborator Ryan Hopkinson. “On first seeing Lucy’s work at the RCA, I found her understanding and approach to digital media and sculpture highly original and fascinating. This project came out of both our interests in the representation of digital and CGI within images that combine traditional and modern crafting techniques. At some point during these conversations it slowly dawned on us that we are both nerds,” Ryan tells It’s Nice That. Over the last few months, the photographer has captured Lucy’s glass sculptures and produced astounding, hyper-real pictures without the help of superimposed effects or CGI. 


Lucy and Ryan’s new images are indicative of their collaboration’s exciting new trajectory. The two creatives have incorporated flocking and have scalpelled curves into the glass to match its natural appearance. “It was a technique we were both eager to try on more unusual shapes than I’m used to such as spheres and other geometric shapes,” Lucy explains. At the heart of Lucy and Ryan’s project is the desire to produce digital photographs of the glass sculptures while retaining the subtle textural details. The duo imaginatively combine the tangible materiality of heated glass, “keeping the feeling of the sculptures as natural as possible” as Lucy puts it, with the immaterial representations of digital photography. In Ryan’s words, “our approach was to create everything in-camera as this is a big part of my craft for both film and image-making and we both felt like this was the right grounding for our ongoing series.” Ryan proceeded to record Lucy’s carefully crafted sculptures inside the glass-making workshop. 


It is Lucy’s creative processes that the photographer focused on, distilling the natural qualities and textures of the glass works. The two artists joined forces in the studio to reshape the appearance of the sculptures by manipulating light, depth, distortion, scale and contrasting textures. “What I love about working with Ryan is that it’s all about pushing the real, as opposed to creating something that’s edited. These images are barely retouched and the properties of the glass make it look hyper-real, its really made me consider where there’s left to go once you reach CGI perfection,” Lucy explains. 


Lucy and Ryan’s approach is both refreshing and original, yet the duo feel that this ever-changing project is only the beginning of their collaboration. “There’s so much potential I have yet to explore in the sculptural world. I’m learning ways to tell stories through an expressive use of materials that I believe goes beyond documenting processes,” Lucy says and to which Ryan adds: “I’m intrigued and looking forward to where we will take this series next, whether we start within a new area of exploration, create larger scale sculptures or begin creating something entirely different.” 

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Lucy Hardcastle and Ryan Hopkinson: new work from their untitled series

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Lucy Hardcastle and Ryan Hopkinson: new work from their untitled series

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Lucy Hardcastle and Ryan Hopkinson: new work from their untitled series

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Lucy Hardcastle and Ryan Hopkinson: new work from their untitled series

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Lucy Hardcastle and Ryan Hopkinson: new work from their untitled series

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Lucy Hardcastle and Ryan Hopkinson: untitled series

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Lucy Hardcastle and Ryan Hopkinson: untitled series

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Lucy Hardcastle and Ryan Hopkinson: untitled series

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Lucy Hardcastle and Ryan Hopkinson: untitled series

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Lucy Hardcastle and Ryan Hopkinson: untitled series

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Lucy Hardcastle and Ryan Hopkinson: untitled series

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Lucy Hardcastle and Ryan Hopkinson: untitled series

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Lucy Hardcastle and Ryan Hopkinson: untitled series

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Lucy Hardcastle and Ryan Hopkinson: untitled series