Review: The work of Hayworth Prize-nominated artist Tessa Lyons

Black Sail

Black Sail, Lake District

Sheffield artist, Tessa Lyons, has recently been shortlisted for the esteemed Haworth Prize.

The Haworth prize is for young artists from the North of England who create works inspired by their surroundings and it is sponsored by The Haworth Trust. Selected from open submission, the 9 shortlisted works will be on display as part of the New English Art Club’s Annual Open Exhibition at Mall Galleries in Central London between 16 and 25 June 2016. The winner will be announced at the Private View on 15 June 2016, and awarded a cheque for £4,000.

Tessa studied illustration at the University of Brighton and learnt the art of picture framing from a Guild Commended framer at Brighton Framing Gallery. She describes her artwork as:

Rydal Cave‘Largely monochrome landscape work. I’m primarily a drawer but I really enjoying learning new processes and so dabble in printmaking from time to time.’

She’s worked in charcoal, chalk and ink. Her sparser landscape drawings, where she captures the essence of the place with minimal marks are strongly influenced by Japanese calligraphy and drawn with sumi ink.

She’s also worked in monoprinting where she says you need to relinquish control and allow mistakes to happen.

Being a rock climber, the Peak District appeals to Tessa. She finds the natural environment the most inspirational place to draw:

‘One of the things I love about climbing is the beautiful places it can take you to. I would happily carry on exploring these places for the rest of my life and hopefully those experiences will fuel more and more artwork.’

Much of her work is large scale:

Dancing Ledge, Swanage‘I find mountains very moving, something about the scale of yourself in the landscape, this is something I aspire to capture in my work.’

Tessa has had exhibitions around the country: Brighton, London, Oxford, Sheffield (of course) and recently the Heaton Cooper Gallery in Grasmere, Lake District.

In 2014 Kendal Mountain Festival commemorated 100 years of the classic rock climb Central Buttress on Scafell (Lake District) and Tessa was commissioned to take part; her markmaking, handwriting and designing style was used through out the promotional material for the festival.

Also in 2014 she was commissioned by the YHA to create a bespoke piece for the remote Black Sail hostel which is accessible only on foot and sits at the head of the Ennerdale Valley in the Lake District. The piece is permanently exhibited there for walkers, runners and climbers to enjoy.

On Tessa’s website is a quote:

My work is about the affinity I feel towards mountains. I love being outside in beautiful, vast landscapes because they offer a sense of perspective which may have something to do with the scale of yourself within the surroundings.’

Take a look at her work – you’ll see what she means.