Back when artist Lexia Hachtmann started art school in 2012, she avoided the practice of painting at all costs. “I never actively wanted to be a painter,” she tells It’s Nice That, when discussing the medium which now makes up the bulk of her practice. “I felt as if I wanted to do everything BUT painting.”
At this time Lexia, who is German-British, was studying an art foundation in Brighton. Experimenting with all media within the wide bracket of fine art, she admits now that she was working through this “naive kind of prejudice against painting” she had at the time. Moving back to her childhood home of Berlin to study at the University of the Arts there in 2013, this approach of avoiding a paintbrush continued until just three years ago, when “ironically, I discovered painting for myself,” she explains. “This came as a real surprise to my former self. My former self was like: ‘What is happening?’ Since then it’s been very exciting.”
Currently completing her masters degree at the same university in Berlin, Lexia has now taken the time to build a large and impressive painting portfolio – no mean feat for someone who hid from the medium until very recently. Inspired by the likes of Colombian painter and sculpture artist Beatriz González and the “freedom and intuition” of Pierre Bonard’s use of colour, to the way Egon Schiele draws hands, or how Francis Bacon’s paintings are “stage-like compositions”, the artist’s love for the medium is obvious in her painting’s use of perspective and context.
Largely creating still life pieces, although it isn’t uncommon for figures to appear in her works, Lexia explains that she always paints intuitively. “I never work from photographs as templates for my work,” she says, although you’d be forgiven for thinking she does considering their level of detail. Instead the artist follows her own formula she’s devised to approach a canvas, which “nearly always” begins with sketching. Forcing the artist to “slow down and really look at the object I am depicting,” Lexia tells us that often she becomes immersed the way a child would and “this act of humbleness is very important in my process. In German there is a very nice word for it, called ‘Demut’.”