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A hand-drawn illustration resembling a mountain from a bird's-eye view.

Keira Hassard – Finding stillness and calm in the drawing process


  • Student Journal
  • |
  • Fine Art


What’s funny to me is that in school, all I ever did was draw, so much so that it got to a point during my A-Levels when I practically vowed never to draw again. Yet here I am, after exploring the biggest variety of media that I have come across (sculpture, printmaking, painting, sound art, etc). I am back drawing again, for the peace of it.

Naturally, I’ve always found myself drawn to creative subjects, although fine art has only in recent years become my passion. When I was younger, I was very much torn between pursuing music, psychology or becoming an artist, and it was only when I started looking further into fine art that I realised it was so incredibly broad that I could still explore those avenues with virtually no restrictions.

AUB has been brilliant at encouraging me to simply try out anything and everything. The whole ethos of my course seems to be to just keep making things, even if it seems out of reach – because chances are, it's not. I’ve come to realise that the whole enjoyment of art is in its process and discovery. My tutors are amazing; when I’d stated my concerns about exploring painting, for example, and how I’d never freely tried it before, their response was that the whole uncertainty of paint is the beauty of it, and there’s never any harm in giving it a go and having fun with it.

I spent much of first year exploring media I’d barely come across before such as sound art, working with the organic sounds of nature to create audiovisual works. This later led me to the opposite end of the spectrum, where I began exploring how I could create purely visual works that evoked specific sounds, even silence. Now, I focus on the stillness and quiet of drawing, more closely engaging myself to a landscape in a controlled, therapeutic way.

When I start out on a project, I can often take a while to really settle into its content. I spend much of the beginning stages researching, thinking and just sitting with ideas until I feel a sense of cohesion in my thought process. I’m very much a list maker and a planner when it comes to projects, and sometimes it feels like I need to plan out an entire project before really getting started. That being said, once I do start experimenting, more ideas spark along the way and the project ends up so much richer and nothing like how I'd initially planned!

Currently, I’m working towards a group exhibition at the Lighthouse in Poole, centring around the idea of water. I’m working with other students to put together a press release for this exhibition, while others are creating a poster and focusing on marketing and general production. In my previous project, I began exploring the concept of maps as documents of our land. Specifically, I became fascinated by the change of land over time, bringing in a more political stance regarding the climate crisis while exploring how a rise in sea levels will begin affecting our shores and their shape. This current project on water allows me to express the quiet tensions between land and sea (its power versus its serenity) while opening my work up to a wider audience.

After graduation, I have, for a while now, had my heart set on becoming an art therapist. I’ve always viewed the arts as a brilliant way of self-expression – whether that’s through visual art, dance, music, etc. The difficult thing I had to think about with becoming a full-time artist was how individual and self-directed it seemed to be. I naturally love working with people and have had an interest in becoming a therapist, ultimately, no matter my path in life.

Something to think about

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