Helen Hopcroft is an artist and writer who grew up in Tasmania and completed her undergraduate Fine Art degree at the Centre for the Arts, Hobart. The following year she was accepted into the Royal College of Art’s prestigious Masters degree program, and after winning a Nescafe Big Break travelled to London, graduating from the RCA in 1994 with a number of awards (including the National Westminister 90s Prize for Art and John Minton Travel Award). Many of Helen’s paintings include fairy tale imagery, particularly the moment when a human transforms into an animal, or vice versa. Her influences include Persian miniatures, literature, fairy tales, naive or pre-Renaissance art and medical illustration.
Hopcroft has co-curated two exhibitions with Dr Caelli Jo Brooker. The first, Happily Ever After: alternative destinies in contemporary feminine narrative (2011-2012), was the winner of a NAVA Marketing Grant. The second, Year of the Bird (2013), for Maitland Regional Art Gallery, included notable artists such as Marian Drew, Emma Van Leest and Helen Wright. Since then she has published one non-fiction book (100 Women) co-written with Katharine Gillett and a second (The Silver Tales: a 25 year history of Hunter Valley Grammar School) . Helen submitted her thesis, ‘Animals, Sex and the Orient: a feminist retelling of the Arabian Nights’, in September 2016.
From 1st May, 2017, Hopcroft will dress in historically accurate costume as Marie Antoinette, and go about her everyday life in Maitland, NSW, for one year. She describes this project, My Year as a Fairy Tale, as her ‘most speculative work to date’.
To hear Helen talk about her art practice on radio click Here
~”The Animal Nights weaves together my ongoing fascination with animals, The Arabian Nights and fairy tales. I have always been interested in the line between human and animal, and particularly how this is expressed in art, stories and life. These works are inspired by Persian and Indian miniature painting, and magical animal transformations in fairy tale and The Arabian Nights. My current obsession with Marie Antoinette may also be glimpsed.” H.Hopcroft