Olli Hull the London based artist and designer hosted his first solo exhibition called ‘Act Normal’ on the 14th and 15th of August at The Hull Room in Brixton.
The whole exhibition is an introspective exploration of Olli’s own experiences as a queer person living through a time of increasing conflict, isolation, and fear. Through Olli’s pop-art paintings and wearable artwork, the exhibition demonstrated ways art and fashion can be used as a form of protest and self-realisation.
Olli Hull was born and raised in Stoke-on-Trent but has lived in London since 2017. After completing an undergraduate degree in Illustration, Olli worked in the fashion industry until 2019 where he began working as an artist and designer full time. In 2019 Olli had his debut catwalk show at London Fashion Week where he showcased his first collection of up-cycled wearable artwork.
The layout of ‘Act Normal’ blurred the lines between art and fashion, painting, and installation. The showcase consisted of a series of wall hanging paintings, and a collection of hand painted wedding dresses which were displayed on mannequins throughout the space. There was a series of railing and pedestals displaying Olli’s latest collection of up-cycled wearable artwork which is currently available to buy via his online store. There was also a space for attendees to try on garments, which was very popular amongst Instagramers.
Olli values raising awareness for mental health and describes his work as his own fantasy land which he creates on his terms and his rules. Olli also has passions for sustainability and social equality which can be seen throughout his work and practice. Olli’s artwork expresses the increasing need for other sustainable practices, and his collection of reworked wedding dresses make comment on the impact that consumer culture, fast fashion, and societal norms are having on our mental health and the planet.
“The wedding dress for me is a potent symbol of outdated traditions that perpetuate unsustainable practices and damaging norms. Reworking these dresses felt like I got to take back something from a tradition and a belief system that for years has rejected me and my community.” – Olli Hull, 2021
Words: Izabel Rose
Photography: Todd Oliver