The University of Southampton

Electronic engineer’s monoprint displayed in historic Royal Academy of Arts exhibition

Published: 4 September 2018
Hector Hamilton's monoprint depicts and imposing female figure.

A striking monoprint portrait by a postgraduate researcher from the University of Southampton has featured in the Royal Academy of Arts 250th Summer Exhibition.

The print, known as Brutally Untitled, was selected from over 25,000 entries to join the prestigious collection of contemporary art in Piccadilly, London.

Hector Hamilton, from the Electrical Power Engineering research group, combined monoprint, engraving and torn paper techniques to create the unique composition of an imposing female figure.

The artistic success is the latest highlight in a series of extracurricular activities for the researcher, which has included leading a liquid rocket project with the Southampton University Spaceflight Society (SUSF) and creative experiments with the Southampton University Wireless Society (SUWS).

“The Royal Academy of Arts is home to the oldest open submission exhibition in the world, so I was thrilled to find out that my print would appear in such a significant anniversary year,” Hector explains. “This is the first time I’ve had a work of art exhibited anywhere.”

Grayson Perry RA and a committee of fellow artists handpicked 1,351 works across a variety of mediums for the exhibition.

“I wanted to create a naturalistic image with engraved lines that were emphasised with colour,” Hector adds. “Brutally Untitled's line-work, which was actually my first attempt at an engraved image, was done over a number of weekends.”

Hector made his print on an engraved intaglio copper plate and added uniqueness to his piece by planning distinctive rips into the paper. The figure depicted in the print is entirely imagined.

Hector completed his MEng Electronic Engineering with Nanotechnology degree at Southampton in 2016 and is set to start the second year of his PhD in the School of Electronics and Computer Science, which he supplements as a part-time laboratory demonstrator.

As a highly active member of SUSF, he has worked toward growing lettuce in a greenhouse on Mars as well as launching a can-shaped rocket capable of sending a live telemetry feed while protecting a hen’s egg. He has also built an ASCII space game using C++ programming skills learned in the first year of his undergraduate study, taken a modern American poetry course and offered alpha and beta testing for gaming software during his time in Southampton. “I’d encourage all students to look into cultivating other talents during their time at university,” he says. “For instance, starting out in drawing requires just a pad and a set of pencils.”

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