What kind of a year has 2019 been for you?
I unusually made a resolution this year to ‘mix it up a bit’ and it turned out to be quite prophetic and liberating. I said yes to (very nearly) everything, even if it was out of my comfort zone, and mostly enjoyed it.

What has changed for the better?
I noticed my children have grown into confident young women.

What do you wish had happened this year, but didn’t?
Climate change is the defining issue of our time, from shifting weather patterns that threaten food production, to rising sea levels that increase the risk of catastrophic flooding, the impacts of climate change are global in scope and unprecedented in scale. I wish that all world governments had agreed to take drastic action.

I also think people can draw a personal line in the sand concerning climate change and sustainability. For instance, as Election Artist for the 2019 General Election I travelled all over the country using only public transport and took the ferry to Northern Ireland rather than flying. It is a small gesture but I feel an important one in terms of individual responsibility.

What would you characterise as your major achievement this year and why?
I was surprised and delighted to be appointed as Parliament’s official Election Artist 2019. I observed and followed the campaign trail and next year will create a work of art for the Parliamentary Art Collection. It has been a huge learning curve and an interesting exercise in remaining impartial and listening to all sides of a debate.

Is there anything you’d like to have done this year but haven’t?
I intended to do a lot more reading but have got out of the habit and scroll instead. Looking at pictures is fine but I think I would also like more stories.

What would make 2020 a better year than 2019?
Walking even more than I already do. When I’m not in my studio, I’m walking. I like the looking, being in the weather, sometimes talking side by side and the rhythm. I love to walk!

1. Nicky Hirst.
2. Nicky Hirst, installation photo from ‘ALGORITHMS’ at Exeter Phoenix, including the works SHALOM GRIT, MISTRAL HOG, and LOAMS GIRTH, 2019.
3. Nicky Hirst, Elemental 305, paired magazine pages 34x25cm, 2019.

More on a-n.co.uk:

Catch up with our 2019 – How was it for you? series so far including Sean Edwards discussing his Wales in Venice Presentation