Hester Cox graduated from Harrow School of Art and Design with a BA(Hons) in Illustration in 1994. She lives and works in Horton-in-Ribblesdale, North Yorkshire. Collagraph, linocut, photopolymer, drypoint and monotype are her preferred methods and she often combines these to create one richly coloured and textured print. She says:
"My printmaking is informed by my surroundings and wherever I am I seek out evidence of the natural world that is particular to that environment. I have spent most of my working life living in rural places and I am fascinated by the rhythms and cycles that occur within nature. These can be the larger seasonal shifts which change the overall look of the landscape and the accompanying meteorological changes but often it is the smaller details that most captivate me such as the flowering of specific plants or the arrival of particular birds that mark the passage of the seasons. Whilst an idea may be sparked by the written word, it is invariably my physical experience of a place that inspires a new piece of work.
As a fellrunner, my excursions often take me to wilder less visited locations and I am outdoors in all weathers. The physicality of running combined with the solitude and necessary awareness of my immediate environment creates a visceral connection with the landscape that lasts long after I have returned to the studio. I revisit the same areas repeatedly and this allows me to observe the changes that take place throughout the year. It also provides me with the opportunity to catch a glimpse of some of the more elusive birds and animals that inhabit these environments. It is these chance encounters with wildlife that I find most exciting and that will often be translated into print. I invariably carry a camera to record details or to act as a memory prompt and I sketch and write notes and haiku to distil my ideas.
By using multiple plates, painted textures and intricate cutting in my collagraph printmaking I can accentuate the patterns that I find in the natural world, celebrate the colours found in nature and draw attention to the everyday occurrences that happen around us but that often go unnoticed or are soon forgotten."
Hester enjoys the creative space afforded by artists’ residencies and has created collections in response to diverse subjects such as the Vale of York Viking Treasure Hoard and Nidderdale Museum’s bird egg collection. Taking part in Art Connections’ Transnational Programme resulted in membership of Ålgården Studios in Sweden which she visits annually to develop her practise.
In 2011 she received an Extending Practice Award from Chrysalis Arts, and worked with the British and Yorkshire Museums creating prints inspired by the Vale of York Viking Treasure Hoard. These were shown alongside the treasure at the Mercer Art Gallery, Harrogate. She was shortlisted for the Flourish Printmaker of the Year Award in 2012 & 2014. In 2015 Hester was one of ten artists selected to take part in Mirror Images, an international printmaking exhibition, which took place simultaneously in North Yorkshire, Scotland, Finland and Sweden in 2015. Her collagraph print, Tracks and Traces, was shortlisted for the New Light Prize Exhibition in 2015 & her reductive monotype ‘Meadowsweet’ has just been selected for the 2017 prize exhibition.
She is currently working on two exciting projects: Collections is a body of work inspired by collecting and collections and is a collaboration with artists Josie Beszant and Charlotte Morrison. In June 2017, her large-scale print installation, 'Within These Walls', was premiered in a traditional field barn at the 2017 Grassington Festival. It is inspired by and celebrates our endangered upland hay meadows.
Hester's prints are also available at the following galleries:
The Alverton Gallery
The Art Parade
The Biscuit Factory
The Blue Tree Gallery
Cambridge Contemporary Art
The Chantry House Gallery
The Craft Centre and Design Gallery
The Lime Gallery
The Masham Gallery
The Mere Gallery
The Mercer Gallery Shop, Harrogate