Nancy Haslam-Chance (born 1992, Bradford) is an artist and illustrator currently living and working in London. After graduating from Glasgow School of Art in 2014 with a Bachelor’s degree in Illustration, she went on to complete the Drawing Year at the prestigious Royal Drawing School. Her work is often autobiographical; her explorations of personal relationships, the interior/exterior, and childhood draw heavily from her experiences growing up in the North of England. It is incredibly exciting to have Nancy as one of the contributing artists in 2018’s Secret Auction for Art on a Postcard!
Profoundly inspired by the industrial landscapes and cultural heritage of Bradford and the North, Nancy has created many stunning drawings and etchings that marry her architectural sensitivity with her early childhood experiences of these places. Her use of colour is particularly successful in conveying these sentiments; Nancy often uses bright, primary colours in conjunction with dark inks and graphite, a very literal interpretation of the premises of her work. Industrial structures and buildings often take stage on her canvas; works such as Cloud Factory, whilst referencing the iconic silhouettes of cooling towers, invite the viewer to recall the memory of seeing and understanding as a child. And it is this sentiment that allows Haslam-Chance’s to be so multifaceted, even in her more minimal pieces. Often, her work capitalises on a feeling of nostalgia to draw the viewer’s mind to some of the more challenging themes she explores. Nancy describes such themes as “fears and wishes, relationships, domestic interiors and rooms as containers of emotions.” And indeed, the relationship between interior and exterior is a concept she frequently returns to.
Nancy Haslam-Chance, Cloud Factory
My Cassle is a fantastically multifarious piece which exemplifies Nancy’s artistic motivations concerning the interior/exterior relationship. In this etching, she uses very distinct, literal lines to cordon the interior space from the exterior, reframing the canvas to condition a viewer’s focus inside the childish, almost crude, marking of a castle outlined in black. This structure, her “cassle”, also seems to reference the shape of a factory, a nod to Nancy’s overarching concern with heritage. In this piece, however, there are more overt indications of her emotions and fears; the exterior space is completely overrun with what appears to be a hoard of red spiders. In catering to such a recognisable phobia, My Cassle not only reflects the universality that Haslam-Chance’s work so often boasts, it concurrently depicts her own very intimate conception of safe, enclosed spaces.
Nancy Haslam- Chance, My Cassle
Nancy’s work consistently reflects her desire to explore “the self” figuratively. Motifs, therefore, are particularly significant to her art. This is clear in her repeated homage to Jean-Michel Basquiat. In My Cassle, amongst other pieces, Nancy references the crudely-drawn, three-pointed crown made famous in Basquiat’s work as a symbol of his identity, his emblematic self-portrait. However, it is not just the image of the crown that Nancy adopts from Basquiat, but his entire approach to representing the self. In each depiction of a factory, a childish memory or a fear, Nancy manages to create, and convey, a self-portrait. Further to this, her drawings are sometimes embellished with slogans, or indecipherable dialogue, offering us further insight into her thoughts and emotions when creating the work, and adding to the compelling, yet intangible portrait of the artist.
Nancy Haslam- Chance
For pieces that are sometimes so beautifully minimal, often drawing the aesthetic focus to shape and colour over finer detail, Nancy’s work displays incredibly complex and thoughtful narratives. Her work is such a delight to view, because as much as she consistently shapes her work around her concept of self, she explores premises that are universally appealing, and incredibly evocative. Nancy will be contributing a piece to Art on a Postcard’s 2018 Secret Auction, so make sure to try and spot it!
About the Writer
Holly Cheeseman - 'I’m a 21-year-old student, currently in my last year of a BA in Comparative Literature at King’s College, London. When not working on my dissertation, I run the KCL Art Society, hosting weekly practical sessions and exhibition tours. I spend the majority of my spare time attempting to work on one of the many half-finished drawings or paintings littering my flat.'