Ones to Watch Interview: Lucy Kent

Find out about Ones to Watch artist Lucy Kent in our artist interview!

May 13th, 2020

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Your full name, and university course/year.

My name is Lucy Kent, I graduated from Manchester School last year after studying on their Textiles in Practice course.


Can you describe your work to us in 3 words?

I think I just need two, I’d describe my work as sculptural drawing.

What medium do you prefer to use?

My favourite medium to work with is probably paper or anything paper based because I love how versatile it can be. But I also like to work with anything I can find or collect, materials I can pick up while out walking, or anything I can re-purpose to make art with. At the moment I’m really enjoying working with scrap metal.

What is the inspiration behind your work?

The pieces in the Ones To Watch exhibition are all part of a series titled ‘Eroding Time’, I started working on the project in November 2018. The work has been inspired by root systems and erosion. It began with a mixture of drawing, photography and exploring different ways of using pine needles/plant stems with paper. I take inspiration from a lot of different places but working directly with a material and understanding how it can be used is a really important step. With this project I was interested in how I could use pine needles alone to work on a larger scale, I enjoy repetitive processes and I’m interested in time based art both in its creation and life-span.

In a more generalised sense, I’d say my work is about connecting with the environment. I try to maintain an awareness of the environment through the materials I use and I hope that’s evident in my work.

What is your most important artist tool? Is there something you can’t live without in your studio?

If I’m making any pine needle pieces, I have one needle that I’ve used to make all the holes for all the different artworks. It makes just the right size slot for the pine needles to sit in and not fall out, it’s not looking its best now but we’ve spent a lot of hours together.

During this uncertain time what will you do to occupy yourself?

I have been finishing up a commission for an office building in Manchester which the install has been delayed on with everything that’s going on. I’ve also been doing a lot of reading. With regards to creative endeavours I’d like to do some paper making and drawing. I made a deckle and mould a couple of years ago which is still tucked away somewhere, so I think I’m going to experiment with paper making and natural dyes and hopefully a bit of bookbinding.

Which artists are you most influenced by?

I really love Anya Gallaccio’s work I was first introduced to her work during college and I’m still obsessed. Particularly her piece Intensities and Surfaces. I love Ice, it’s mesmerising, and I’ve always been fascinated by artwork that has a finite lifespan. I suppose that’s quite noticeable with the pine needle work. I’m also inspired by Anselm Kiefer’s paintings, I’m drawn to their scale and texture. Also to the way he uses anything from glass to plant stems in his paintings, I find it exciting as it shows an artist’s palette doesn’t have to be just paint. I’m interested in environmental art and the different forms it can take. I’m inspired by the work of Olafur Eliasson and his studio because they cover such a range in their work and manage to maintain an exploratory approach to art and design.

Plans for the future?

I’m hoping to participate in some artist residencies which is really something that can’t be planned for at the moment. Otherwise I’d really love to spend some time in Austria or Germany and just keep making art. No massive concrete plans, just seeing where I end up.

Tell us about an exhibition that has stayed with you

I really loved the Guiseppe Penone ‘A Tree In The Wood’ exhibition at The Yorkshire Sculpture Park last year, and admire the way that he uses materials. I even got chance to go to a talk he gave about the exhibit which will definitely be a memory that’ll stay with me. I visited the show a few times, Penone has a real sensitivity in the way he works and the piece ‘Matrice (Matrix) 2015’ was truly striking. The show gave a wonderful overview of his work with sculpture’s both indoors and outdoors. You really get a different experience seeing art in real life and I don’t think that connection can be replaced.

Any books/ films/tv series that you’d recommend for anyone interested in art?

The new Olivia Laing book ‘Funny Weather: Art in an Emergency’ is out this month and feels very relevant right now. I’d been working part time in a bookshop so was lucky enough to get the proof to read a few months ago. I also recently read The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben which I will definitely be re-reading, it was fascinating. I also loved the Andy Goldsworthy documentary ‘Leaning Into The Wind’.

What are your favourite Instagram accounts?










I could probably go on and I’ve probably missed a few that I love but they’re mostly artists/makers I enjoy people sharing work in progress and shots from in their studios.

Find out more about Lucy’s work here.
Read about all the Ones to Watch artists here.
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