November 17, 2017
Maddie Yuille is Romance FC’s fierce defender and talented painter.
Her first exhibition ‘Peace To Be Found', translates ordinary street scenes of Hackney into a moments of Hockneyesque beauty and calm. She currently works from her living room in Hackney in the company of her cat Marcel. “He is a total dream boat but his favourite thing is sitting on paper which can be really annoying when there's wet paint about.”
Earlier in the year, finding herself with a gap between jobs, she decided to take up Lucie’s last minute offer to take a road trip to Louisiana in the USA. “We started in New Orleans and spent about 5 days there, then hired a car and drove south and west in to the bayou, stopping off in a few different small towns along the way, Houma, New Iberia, and Thibodaux. “
This spontaneous trip resulted in a collection of paintings called ‘Bayou Delights’. In advance of her upcoming exhibition this Saturday we caught up.
Hey Maddie! I had to google the word Bayou. So Bayou is a word used in the United States to mean a body of water that is extremely slow-moving. This word really connects with the feeling I get from your paintings. I feel calm and collected. Is this how you came to name this collection of work?
I love that that is what you have taken from the name, and it's nice to know you feel a sense of calm when looking at my paintings as that's something I get from them too. So the name definitely works in that respect! But it actually comes from a road-side restaurant we ate at one night when we were staying on Bayou Black. We went there quite late as we'd been trying to find somewhere to stay and it was totally empty inside - aside from the two women who worked there. The interiors were amazing, like an 80s time-warp, and it was quite a surreal experience eating there on our own. I felt the name of the restaurant just summed up the trip as a whole.
What is your working process like?
I try to experiment with different materials, and do sketches of things about the house and in my local streets to keep my mind fresh. For my larger pieces, I tend to work from photos, as I'll often want to paint a scene that I've seen when I'm out and about, and so I'll take a photo to remind me of it. I'll start by doing a really quick simple sketch to get the composition and main colours in my mind. I'll then start working on a larger scale, and will begin by blocking out the main shapes with colour (working in acrylic paint from here on). As acrylic drys really quickly, I'll build my painting up in layers, and generally work from dark to light colours, but I'm flexible as it develops. I try not to stick too rigidly to the photo, but just to use it as something to prompt my memory.
Your last exhibition was a collection of paintings from Hackney. How was it different painting somewhere you live to somewhere you’re just visiting?
In a way it's easier painting Hackney, as I know the places so well, and I'll often go back to the spots I'm painting to remind myself of what it looks like and what it feels like to be there. With the Louisiana paintings I had to rely solely on the photographs and my memory of the places, so there's a slight restriction there. I also felt more familiar with the colours I used in my Hackney paintings, whereas in Louisiana, particularly with the motel series, I was trying to communicate a real heat through the colours.
I recognise many of the places in your paintings of Hackney and I don’t know Louisiana but the paintings felt linked for me. Is there now a connection between Hackney and Louisiana for you?
To be honest - not that much! I'd say there's a connection in the way I look at both places; I'll notice shapes and colours of entirely different places in the same way, in the context of whether they strike me as a potential painting.
Where do you plan on going next?
I don't know! But Lucie and I want to go on another road trip together, and my boyfriend and I are talking about cycling from New York to San Fran!
Bayou Delights opens This, Saturday 18th Nov at The Imaginarium
Words by Tiger Hagino Reid