A Place To Work, The Artist Georgie Hopton

Nicola Tyson , Upstate Diary, April 26, 2019

'I first met Georgie Hopton in the mid ‘80s at Central/St Martins School of Art, then situated on the edge of Soho in London’s West End. Fresh from the provinces, namely Yorkshire, she stood out — to my cocky Londoner’s eye — as an individual with a sophisticated creative identity, evidenced by her clothes, attitude, and then by her work. We were both there to study painting, but she soon abandoned tubes of oil paint in favor of working with found stuff — crazy fabrics, fun fur, novelty wrapping papers and trims sourced from the stores and street markets nearby, making curious collages and intriguing three-dimensional wall pieces, and clever and hilarious Super 8 movies starring herself.'


We graduated in ‘89, and I moved to New York, so we saw each other only occasionally. Meanwhile, the YBA (Young British Artists) scene — instigated by Damien Hirst and fellow Goldsmiths students — was making London the epicenter of the international art world. Georgie married YBA luminary and painter Gary Hume, and while stateside for a big exhibition of his work, they visited me upstate at my renovated old farmhouse, in New Paltz, to which I’d recently decamped from Manhattan. They fell in love with the area and within months they had purchased their own farm fixer-upper — a one-time chicken farm in Accord, NY.


The property is nestled in a secluded dell, surrounded by dense mixed woodland of hickory, tulip, maple, white pine, sassafras and oaks. A handful of agreeable farm buildings occupies the clearing, including a hand-hewn nineteenth-century barn, two fieldstone chicken coops (one converted into a sauna), wooden coops — one kitted-out for rendering maple syrup from sap collected from their Sugar Maples in late winter — and outbuildings converted into studios. Then there is the house itself, much enlarged now, which incorporates the original little nineteenth-century farmhouse.'