Maddie Rose Hills shares her lockdown experience

Maddie Rose Hills

Maddie Rose Hills


As the world went into lockdown during the first half of the year, galleries closed and exhibitions were postponed or cancelled, making it a particularly hard time for the arts and many artists. For many, including contemporary artist Maddie Rose Hills, it meant finding new ways to work and even exploring new mediums. Hills exclusively shares with Loughran Gallery how she kept motivated during lockdown and the new projects that helped to keep her positive.  

Has the current situation changed your art? 

Hills says: “Definitely! I left my studio with all my materials in it, not knowing I wouldn’t be back for four months. Art shops were also closed or taking much longer for deliveries, so I was left with a few bare essentials and old or half-worked canvases. I did a lot of assemblage; chopping up these old canvases to make new constructions, and I started working with a lot of unusual materials that I could find lying around the house. One of these materials was newspaper; one of the rare aspects of normal life that kept up production throughout lockdown. I began using newspaper to create unusual surfaces, building up layers and layers of it, and then gradually shapes began to form. Shapes resembling fossils alongside random abstract objects. I've kept these paintings white for now to create space for the compositions to jump out at me, however I might contemplate adding colour to them eventually.”


Maddie Rose Hills new works

Hills: "I started working with a lot of unusual materials that I could find lying around the house."

Maddie Rose Hills new works

Hills: "I began using newspaper to create unusual surfaces, building up layers and layers of it, and then gradually shapes began to form."

Did lockdown affect your creativity?

“I’ve been very creative throughout lockdown, to be honest. I felt a lot of pressure to get as much work done as possible while we waited for normal life to resume. This pressure was quite good for me, which I appreciate was quite lucky as I have many friends who struggled with productivity at the time.” 

What did your daily lockdown life look like?

“I was working on a new research project called @The.Art.Slice where I choose random years throughout history and tried to find artworks made across the world that year. I started the project out of curiosity and as a way of exploring art history outside of the western sphere. I would spend my mornings reading and writing, followed by an afternoon of painting. I was sharing a studio with my mum at the time – she’s an amazing oil painter and I am always inspired by her unique use of colour. We listened to lots of great music, audio books and podcasts while we painted. Having her with me is one of the main reasons my creativity was so high throughout lockdown.”

Maddie Rose Hills painting

Hills in the studio

So, lockdown was a positive experience for you?

“I have really benefited from having fewer social plans and have enjoyed spending a bit more time reading, writing or working later into the evenings. I hope that we can keep life a little bit slower as we get out of lockdown. I have been writing a lot since the start of lockdown and this is something that I know I am going to hold onto now.”

What are you most excited about doing now restrictions are lifting?

“I’ve been really craving libraries – there are only so many books I can buy myself on Amazon. I’m looking forward to busy private views being a thing again – seeing friends and meeting new people. It’s lovely that pubs and museums are open, but I’ve got quite used to this new life and am taking a while to fully get back into the old ways.”

Why is art so important right now?

“During several months where nothing was allowed, the ability to create things out of whatever materials are lying around has been the only thing we’ve actually been able to do, and have been able to this whole time. I know a lot of people who have taken up art-making throughout lockdown and hopefully this continues.”

Has your perception of art changed?

“I am much more into public and outdoor art. I’m enjoying the fact that people are spending more time and money on online exhibitions because it can mean that anyone in the world can view them without needing to spend lots of money on travel.”

We look forward to seeing more of what Hills has been up to in lockdown in the coming months.

Maddie Rose Hills