BA Fine Art Mixed Media, University of Westminster, London.

Hamish McClelland says:

“Through my practice I seek to explore personal experiences in themes of anxiety, memories, nightmares, sexual assault and sex work by contrasting thematic elements that are visual and more formalist in approach with actions and processes that become inexurably tied to the meaning of my work. I work across various media in my practice but my works of the past year can be generalised as painting, embroidery and video.”

Stay away from me, don’t even look at me (2020) is a hand embroidered hygiene mask that I created from scratch using linen, elastic and cotton embroidery threads. I started making the piece during the first national lockdown in England as a response to how anxious I realised I had become at the prospect of being around strangers in public spaces. My idea was to create a face covering composed of multiple eyes that would look all directions on my behalf, therefore counteracting the stares of strangers on the street and in the supermarket. Because of the time consuming nature of hand embroidery and my other commitments I didn’t actually finish the piece until December of 2020.”

Stay away from me, don’t even look at me was accompanied by a video piece and accompanying installation titled A Bed with many Aisles (2020), wherein I recreated a nightmare/sleep paralysis episode I had during lockdown that took place inside a supermarket. I cut out a section of a mattress and modified a bed frame so I could project the video piece up into the bed from below, encouraging viewers of the piece to climb onto the bed and under the covers to watch.”

“I’m currently working on and very close to completing my degree piece. This is composed of a video piece titled How do you find your way back in the dark that’s approximately 10 minutes in length, a performance and a few sculptural pieces. The video piece chronicles my own experiences of sexual assault and sex work as a teenager, I wanted to create something authentic to my own memories and something that might make people question what they think they know about these themes. I was influenced by very specific references in 20th century film and I wanted to make something visually eclectic, some of my most important ideas are a criticism of the rape and revenge film genre, the experiences of young gay men and a criticisation of the masculine-feminised power exchange sexual dichotomy. Accompanying my video piece is the burnt remains of a hand stitched, stuffed and embroidered mannequin who acts as my assaulter in my film and meets an untimely firey end as well as a performance by me of sitting and peacefully embroidering. Once again I intend to draw attention to the contrast, how the violence and anger I feel interacts with my attempts to find peace in a hostile world.”

Instagram @hamcclel

Degree Show: opens at Ambika P3, London 21-25 June 2021. Follow BA Fine Art Mixed Media, University of Westminster on Instagram for more details and to book a visit @fineartmixedmedia


1, 4. Hamish McClelland, How do you find your way back in the dark¸ video, 2021.
2. Hamish McClelland, Stay away from me, don’t even look at me, hand embroidered hygiene mask, 2020.
3. Hamish McClelland, A Bed with many Aisles, video and installation, 2020.
5. Hamish McClelland, Mannequin, prop from How do you find your way back in the dark.