The Others

Meet the Others: Maria Hatling

The Game Changers. The Rule Breakers. The Innovators. Discover some of the fantastic emerging talent showcasing their work at The Other Art Fair.

The Other Art Fair London exhibitor Maria Hatling combines bold colours and brushstrokes to create varied compositions of abstract shapes and recognizable characters; ‘if you choose to see them’. Fueled by human emotion but finding a moment of stillness on the canvas, Maria’s works are energetic yet thoughtful, with the signature dots representing ‘islands of clarity and focus’.

Tell us about who you are and what you do. What is your background? 

My name is Maria Hatling and I am a Norwegian painter living and working in London. My background is in design but after more that ten years in that field I decided to shift my focus and make painting the centre of my work. I finally felt ready to get my ideas down on larger canvases.

If you could describe your work in 3 words, what would they be? 

Bold organised chaos.

Image by Joana Nunes

Can you walk us through your process? How do you know when an artwork finished? 

I paint to organise my thoughts and to try and understand the world around me. I think a lot about how we as humans interact and communicate with each other both online and in physical spaces. This is often reflected in the titles. During the making of my paintings I can’t help to bring what’s going on in the world at large into the painting and the emotions I feel manifests themselves in the more chaotic parts of my work. The black graphic lines can be seen as just that, lines, or very simplified bodies interacting with each other. The black spots in my paintings may be the heads of these abstract characters. Personally I like to think these spots represents moments of clarity and focus.
The other part of my process is how I work with colour. I collect colour stories in the form of photographs wherever I go. I bring these back to the studio and they act as catalysts for the colour work I do in the studio. I am particularly drawn to taking photos of fishing boats and fishing equipment. This might have something to do with growing up close to the sea in Norway.
For me, a painting is finished when I no longer feel the need to change things on it when I walk into the studio. This process takes a bit of time so it’s important to have that time to let the painting mature before it goes somewhere. I would say if you have not felt the need to change anything on a painting for a couple of weeks, the painting is finished.

Has being in isolation affected your artwork practice in any way? ?

During lockdown I was not able to get to my studio which forced me to work on smaller paintings at my kitchen table. Initially I resented being forced to work small but the outcome was good. At the end I really liked some of these smaller works created during this time.
During this emotional year we are in I have felt that the colour red and its neighbouring shades are the colours that feels right to use.
Red is the colour of revolution, sacrifices, heat, anger and danger, but also the colour of courage, compassion, passion, love and joy. In general it has been good to work with such a limited colour palette and focus more on the physicality of making the work but it means
I might have ended up with too many red paintings.

Image by Joana Nunes

What is the best advice given to you as an artist?

Study art history so you know what’s gone before, do this whilst you keep on exploring and experimenting developing your own personal visual language.

Can you tell us something about you that people would be surprised to hear? 

I was born in South Korea and adopted to Norway when I was a baby. I grew up in a small town close to the sea where me and another handful of other adopted children where the only ethnic people in our community. This was the 80s and things have long changed but it is perhaps why I absolutely treasure living and working in diverse London.

Shop artwork by Maria and other trailblazing artists at The Other Art Fair’s Online Studios.

Introducing The Other Art Fair Online Studios, a new online platform offering art lovers around the world access to over 800 Fair artists. The Online Studios will keep our community feeling inspired, engaged, and continue to spread joy through art.