Sketchpad Artist: Aliyah Hussain 21 Jul

Aliyah Hussain is one of the 11 artists we asked to design a limited edition cover for our new Sketchpad range. Based in Manchester, Aliyah is a visual artist and one third of the Volkov Commanders. Her work ranges from printmaking and photography to performance and explores utopian, ritualistic and futuristic themes.


Take a look at the Fred Aldous limited edition Sketchpad range here.

We spoke to Aliyah to find out a bit more about her and the Sketchpad covers she designed for us:

Tell us a bit about the idea behind your sketchbook covers?

My sketchbook cover design is composed of quick marks made from brush strokes. I wanted it to echo the way I work when using a sketchbook, by producing something that was fast, experimental and that felt like the beginning of something, not the end.


Have you used a Risograph printer before, and if yes what was it for?

Yes, I went on the one day Riso print workshop with the guys over at Mono at Islington Mill. It was a really interesting workshop and explained a lot about the process, which is somewhere between screen printing and photocopying. I made a 3 colour print using collage and just scanning straight onto the scan bed – I really liked working like that and not using the computer.

What are your specialisms?

I don’t have a specialism as such, I work across lots of different mediums and like to keep learning how to do new things. Recently I went on a residency to a gallery in Lisbon and along with a group of artists we constructed costumes and a set for stage and a video shoot completely out of cardboard we found on the street. I like working in this way – being resourceful with materials I find and figuring out new techniques to get the results I want.


How would you describe your work?

My practice encompasses performance, photography, painting, printmaking, collage, sound and costume. I experiment with the per formative and technical aspects of different media to create works that reference futurist narratives, utopian visions and ritualistic practices embedded in the everyday.

Distortion of the familiar is a prevalent theme in my current work whether 2d, sculptural or performance. I use colours, forms and sculptural motifs as a means to create unexpected structures and disruptions in the landscape, blurring the distinction between the real and imaginary. I’m also interested in the idea of the “Uninvited”, an object or form, living or inert that is at odds with its surroundings, but through manipulation engages in a disjointed harmony within it’s setting. A lot of my work takes place outdoors and relies on the forces within nature to complete it – using objects such as flags, kites and banners. By extracting the shapes and colours and using them in an abstract way I’m developing a form of visual communication that isn’t reliant on spoken language.


What inspires you?

I’m inspired by the space, the universe, landscape, architecture, mythology, geology abstraction, folklore, geometry, movement, the body and adornment. Having a studio at Islington Mill is also a constant source of inspiration, being around so many different people who are working in different ways is amazing and there are always chances for unexpected collaborations either with the other residents or visiting artists.

Do you have any advice for artists or designers who are just starting out?


What materials do you use?

Gouache paint, colouring pencils, coloured vinyl, 35mm film, wood, paper, fabric and everything and anything I find at SAMS (Blackburn) which is an amazing resource for artists where businesses donate unusual unwanted materials.


Can you give us a tip?

UHU glue! It solves most problems and if that doesn’t work gaffer tape and cable ties will.

Where can people see your work?


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