Imogen Hawgood’s paintings examine the dark side of American road trips


Based in County Durham, Imogen Hawgood graduated in 2020 with a degree in Illustration from Norwich University of the Arts. Her current work explores icons of Americana and the idea of ​​“the road” as a transitional and symbolic landscape.

His work is influenced by the visual language of film with cinematic approaches to composition informing his process of creating new paintings, using a sketch storyboard style to explore form, lighting and composition. “I’m particularly drawn to the austere lighting traditionally used in film noir, and more contemporary versions of that genre, like the neon mayhem of Ridley Scott’s neo-noir Blade Runner,” she says. “Thematically, I am also inspired by films such as Easy Rider, Thelma And Louise and Kalifornia; examples of narratives that also question the allure of the road and where it may lead.”

His latest series of paintings was inspired by a recent trip to Los Angeles. “I was fascinated by the concept of the American dream and the mythical allure of the West,” she told Creative Boom. “My recent work has included American landscapes and roadside imagery, while experimenting with oil painting depiction of the light leaks and color effects characteristic of film photography.”

Mel’s Drive-In, Sunset Blvd © Imogen Hawgood

© Imogen Hawkgood

© Imogen Hawkgood

Imogen is also interested in exploring a darker side of “the road”. A recent painting, Ride The Highway West, depicts California wildfires from inside an escaping car. “California’s skyscapes didn’t look like the cloudless blue paradise we know, but an apocalyptic orange glow, changing from day to night,” she explains.

Imogen has exhibited at the New Light exhibition at the Scarborough Art Gallery and at the Holt Festival in Norfolk. She has been shortlisted for the ING Discerning Eye, John Hurt and Sworders art awards. His current work is featured in an exhibition with artist Horace Panter at the McGee Gallery in York.

“The freedom of the American open road has been a powerful image for generations on both sides of the Atlantic, representing for some a discovery of self, for others a path to redemption,” Imogen continues. “Through the use of my own photographs, as well as found footage, the images I create juxtapose an air of nostalgia with contemporary viewpoints. I often use the interior of a car as a frame through which seeing a passing landscape and trying to capture a sense of movement through my composition and use of color and lighting.”

Check out more of Imogen’s work at or follow her on instagram. You can even grab an original print or artwork through it store.

Ride the West Freeway |  © Imogen Hawkgood

Ride the West Freeway | © Imogen Hawkgood

Double exposure in Las Vegas © Imogen Hawgood

Double exposure in Las Vegas © Imogen Hawgood


Comments are closed.