Maddie Yuille

  • Words. Claudia Middleton

Art | March 19 2017

Maddie Yuille is an artist living in London. Every morning, before heading off to her broadcasting job, Maddie paints massive 2×2 metre paintings inspired by photographs taken around Hackney, where she lives. Each painting takes about a month to finish, using acrylic paint on paper tacked to her living room wall. Maddie currently has an exhibition at Burley Fisher Books, if you’re in London go check it out!

When did you start painting and how has your work evolved since?

I have always loved painting, but have spent more time on it in the last 4 years.  I’ve experimented with different materials and paintings different subjects – I focused on portraits for a while and on more abstract work – but it’s in the last couple of years that I’ve found myself drawn to painting landscapes in the style that I do – on a large scale, using acrylics and really focusing on the colour.

What inspires you to paint what you paint?

I paint what I do because I want to represent those moments of everyday beauty that I see around me. I’m constantly inspired to paint new things that I see every day in London.

You paint every morning before work. Is this a kind of therapy for you before heading off to a busy job in the city?

I mainly paint in the morning so that I can use the most natural light possible, as by the time I get home from work it’s dark (in the winter at least), but it’s definitely a nice way to start the day instead of rushing out of the house.

The use of light within your paintings is incredibly ambient. Looking at them reminds me of sleepy afternoon walks in the city.

How do you think light is able to create such a specific atmosphere?

For me it’s all about the unexpected colours you get in the city from light at different times of day, and the strong contrasts in light and shade created by light falling on buildings. Light at certain times of day can totally transform what might look like a pretty dour scene at any other time of day.

Your ability to see beauty in the everyday, ordinary scenes of Hackney is inspiring. What makes the scenes you photograph and paint stand out to you?

Every thing I paint is something that’s made me stop in my tracks and look twice. I could be cycling on my way to work and I have to take a photo because something grabs me about the scene – it might be the particular colour on the side of a building or some interesting shapes that are being created from light and shade. Whatever it is, it normally catches my eye because it is something unexpected which in that moment has a compelling quality to it. My most recent painting is of a rubbish tip with a puddle in front of it, which is a really striking silver colour because of the reflection of light. I love it when something like that, which is meant to be ugly, can actually have a really beautiful quality to it.

Other than painting, what do you do to release your creativity?

Day to day I work making documentaries, so that can be quite creative. I’m also obsessed with playing football, which I like to think can be pretty creative too!


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