Regulars / Ones To Watch 2018

Ones to Watch 2018: visual artist Lucy Hardcastle


Daphne Milner


Mason Lonson

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 is often asked if she has synesthesia and for anyone who has experienced her art this comes as no surprise. “I don’t think I do,” replies the London-based visual artist who works across physical and digital media. Lucy’s art is abstract, immersive and intensely textural. Having graduated with an MA from the Royal College of Art only last year, she has already produced a huge body of work using an impressive range of skills from Cinema 4D to glass blowing. Her projects thus far have been experiments exploring the relationships between tangible materials and virtual art. 

With two creatives as parents, becoming an artist was always on the cards for Lucy: “From an early age I understood that a freelance life was feasible.” Despite picking creative subjects throughout her school years, it was during her undergraduate studies at Chelsea College of Art when Lucy settled on her niche path: “I was making a lot of digital images during my BA to begin with. I would take photographs, photoshop them, print the photoshopped images onto fabric. Then I would compare the textural meaning of these images on fabric and on a screen,” Lucy tells It’s Nice That. It was during these years that Lucy first received public recognition for Glow, her hypnotic series of physical objects and rendered images.  


Lucy Hardcastle: Glow


Lucy Hardcastle: Glow


Lucy Hardcastle : Glow

Lucy also spent time studying satisfaction videos on Instagram and questioning their prevalence. She believes that the younger generations are becoming texturally impoverished. “iPhones mean we touch flat surfaces all day. I think there is a lot of room to explore our changing relationship to the senses,” Lucy explains. It is this concern that places sensory research at the forefront of her work. “I don’t think the long-term effects of feeling flat surfaces all day have been thoroughly examined,” she continues. “We are incredibly dependent on our eyes and this mutes the rest of our senses.” Her acute awareness of society’s changing relationship to the senses and the possible effects are what have lead her to create visually vivid and tactually powerful art.

It was during her MA that Chanel and i-D approached Lucy to work on The Fifth Sense, a creative project reflecting on visual representations of the senses. Lucy’s proposal, Intangible Matter, reimagines the visual possibilities of scent. In order to physicalise her ideas and transform abstract concepts into artistic creation, Lucy asked herself “what a video game of a Chanel perfume would look like?” The answer is a sublime fusion of mesmerising, pearl-like globules and delicate white plasma. Through Intangible Matter, Lucy reconsiders perfume and re-presents the various chemical components involved in creating a scent. “The virtual rooms of Intangible Matter are inspired by the different elements of perfume. I also wanted the project to be a self-directed journey of self-exploration,” she says.


Lucy Hardcastle: Intangible Matter


Lucy Hardcastle: Intangible Matter

Having worked with mega brands like Chanel and Levi, Lucy wants to turn her attention to personal projects: “I have been really lucky that big brands have come to me to find new ways of storytelling. But now that the commercial work has died down a bit, I want to pursue my own artistic ventures.” 

Lucy’s remarkably unique mind is shaping our sensory imagination. Her intellectual curiosity and artistic innovation makes Lucy a formidable force in digital and physical sculpting. Lying at the heart of her art is a commitment to understanding humans. “I don’t think people feel fully connected with all the intricacies that make them human and I don’t think people really want to feel their own emotions anymore. My work creates a heightened version of reality so we can rediscover what surrounds us ourselves.” Self-discovery is usually understood as the spiritual work of the mind; Lucy’s turn to the physical senses is a refreshing reminder of the many available routes to reconnecting with ourselves and the world around us.


Lucy Hardcastle: Untitled series in collaboration with Ryan Hopkinson


Lucy Hardcastle: Untitled series in collaboration with Ryan Hopkinson


Lucy Hardcastle: Glow


Lucy Hardcastle: Intangible Matter


Lucy Hardcastle: Intangible Matter


Lucy Hardcastle: Untitled series in collaboration with Ryan Hopkinson


Lucy Hardcastle: Untitled series in collaboration with Ryan Hopkinson


Lucy Hardcastle: Kairos

Supported by Uniqlo

The idea at the heart of all of Uniqlo’s clothing is LifeWear – clothes that make your life better. Style doesn’t have to be superficial; it can keep you warmer, cooler, drier. Uniqlo creates LifeWear by evolving the ordinary, producing innovations big and small that benefit you every day.