Art stories: Catch up with Jacqui Hallum

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Jacqui Hallum was the First Prizewinner of John Moores Painting Prize 2018 with her painting 'King and Queen of Wands'. We caught up with Jacqui 2 years on about her JMPP experience and what life is like now.

What has life been like after winning the John Moores Painting Prize?

Terra Incognita.

How would you describe your John Moores experience?

Weird then, still weird now. Like an odyssey. 

How do you feel about winning the prize now, looking back?

All Good. No doubt.

How have you spent your prize money?

I paid off my debts after 20 years being/trying to be an artist. 

What one piece of advice would you give to anyone entering the John Moores Painting Prize this year?

Easy, this one. Just do it, don't think twice. Pick what YOU think is your best picture that most exemplifies your voice. 

What are you currently working on?

Lots of different pictures about the Moon, and related thought and iconography. They are about the un/subconscious, the 'half seen', uncertain reality, unknown territory, confusion, following your instincts, intuition, treasures disguised as monsters and creativity. A balance between our intuitive and our logical brain. In Tarot, the Moon is engulfed by a giant sun, reminding us that the Moon is a reflection of the Sun upon it. This symbolises our reality being out of reach, as we only experience its echo.

What's on your current playlist?

Solomon Burke, The Bangles, Belle and Sebastian (but only the first three albums), Trevor Nelson's Old School programme, or just football on TalkSport. Otis Redding, Aretha Frankin, Nina Simone always applicable, in any given situation.

Who is your favourite artist?

I don't really have a favourite artist, I am a ' happy neutral', and try and take each artwork on its own terms and try not to have any preconceptions. One of my favourite painters is Sigmar Polke, for his capacity to match interesting thinking/ideas with an original/effective formal dimension. Other than that, it would be someone like Giotto or Duccio or Massaccio or an un-named medieval crafts person for their economy and invention.

What is your favourite painting?

Our Lady with the Infant Jesus, Saints and Angels by Giotto. I love the expression on the Virgin's face, what does she know? What is she thinking? I could probably look at it every day for the rest of my life and still find it engaging, in terms of its ability to sustain through continued revisiting. As a criteria for a 'successful' painting, or a finished painting, I find it a useful criteria to apply to my own work in the studio or perhaps if thinking about acquiring something; "could I look at this every day?, Would it stand up to this?'