Faith Humphrey Hill is a portrait artist who creates her avant-garde knit portraits using a combination of contemporary computer technologies and conventional painting methods. The artist only used oil paints and charcoal before starting to merge knitting with computer painting five years ago. DeMilked informed us in an interview that she has always painted from life in a representational style as her subject matter.
To explore “artists, artwork, art theory, as well as experiment with various techniques,” Faith launched her website hastily. See some of her fantastic creations in the slideshow below.
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The artist said, “Before my Knit Print series, all of my knitting consisted of functional items like socks and sweaters. Knit Tapestries, which are six-color, large-scale (up to 7 feet tall), knit fabric portraits; Knit Prints, which are knit photographs layered beneath digital drawings; Knit Art, where the knit fabric is physically layered beneath a stencil or 3D print; and Knit Animations, where each frame is knit and drawn independently.
Faith got inspired to create her Knit Print series from an experience she had exhibiting her drawings. The artist revealed, “While at the exhibit, I was knitting socks as I spoke with the guests. People kept commenting on my knitting recalling their experience with the medium. I went back to the studio the next day and reflected on the words they were saying about the knitting. Words like “warmth” “comfort” “hug” “protection”. I knew I wanted those words associated with the faces that I render. So, I went in search of a way to combine the two mediums. I’ve found the combination of knitting and digital tools feels authentic to me. I live my life with metal implants in my heart and along my spine. As a person I’m a mix between organic and inorganic…so should my art.”
The artist also shared her process for creating knit prints –
“1. I select a face often through an artist-to-artist resource where reference photos are provided for use in artwork.
2. The portrait is drawn free-hand utilizing layers and digital tools.
3. Once the drawing is complete I will export the “under” layer (leaving the line and crosshatch layers untouched) in into an app that creates a knitting pattern.
4. I knit the fabric using between 4-6 colors of yarn on a vintage hacked knitting machine.
5. For the Knit Prints the knit fabric is then blocked, photographed and digitally layered again beneath the crosshatch layer.
A similar process is done repeatedly for the Knit Animation series. The Knit Tapestries and Knit Art exhibit the physical knitting and follow a slightly different process for step 5 detailed above.”
Faith said, “I love working this way, not only do I get to balance my traditional training in drawing and knitting but I also get to tinker with new and old technology. The process feels genuine to me after all with my implants, technology is part of who I am. I also greatly love working with my portrait subjects. I love that they are strangers to me, I can think of no more worthy subject. Spending all that time with someone I don’t know develops empathy and appreciation for others.”
“I grow connected to all the subjects of my portraits and feel they should be displayed and celebrated. Studying their faces helps me discover our similarities as people, an empathy that I hope resonates with the viewer as well,” she added.