Introducing Eleanor Hurley: a Bristol-based writer exploring women’s emotional growth

Aggie chats to ascendant auteur Eleanor about creative community, collaboration and her career

Eleanor Hurley is a talented Bristol-based writer and spoken word artist. Originally from East London, she is now living in Redland in a vibrant house with other creative friends. She is the author of Purple Girls, a poem about female empowerment and emotional growth through close female relationships and inspirations. Soon-to-be featured in the short film of Purple Girls produced by talented photographer and film producer Qezz Gill. I caught up with Eleanor to chat about her creative practice ahead of the film’s release.

What is your creative practice? 

Primarily writing, including poetry and spoken word – although recently I’ve been trying not to limit myself. I’ve been branching out into other, more visual-based creative avenues. While writing will always be my main passion, I want to be open to any creative prospect that might present itself, especially living in Bristol where there is such a diverse range of opportunities.

How did your passion for your creative practice begin? 

I’ve genuinely loved writing since I can remember. My ‘dream’ job in childhood was always to be an author, but studying Literature in higher education definitely helped me to solidify writing as something I not only loved but wanted to pursue indefinitely.

Which aspects of everyday life do you put into your work?

The content I create in my own time is always a reflection of my everyday life.  While I’m constantly motivated to write by world events and the artists and musicians I admire, the majority of my content is directly inspired by the people around me. I’m fortunate to know so many people, in Bristol especially, who are creatively driven in everything they do and their impact is at the core of any of my work. I think with writing especially, people are more connected to pieces that speak to their own personal experiences, so reinterpreting the ‘everyday’ is often what resonates with readers most.

What piece of work are you most proud of and why?

The first piece of poetry I ever had published was a personal piece that articulated how the women in my life had contributed to the emotional growth I experienced going into my twenties. It wasn’t something I wrote with the intention of publicising, however nearing two years since it was published my friends and I have been collaborating to reimagine it as a short film that we’re hoping to release in August. The poem in itself was always one of my proudest pieces of work, however being able to re-envision it now through the eyes of the women I originally wrote it about has been really special.

Inspiration

Which artists inspire you?

Bigger artists I look up include people like Blood Orange and Noname, who’s reworking of spoken word into hip-hop was one of the driving forces behind me realising that writing could just be one of many creative directions I pursue in the future. However, as I mentioned before, the people who inspire me the most are the people around me. I’m always drawn to people with their own creative pursuits and seeing their constant determination to do so regardless of physical barriers encourages me to carry on working towards my own creative goals.

What do you find hardest about being an artist?

In the climate we’re living in, pursuing any kind of creative career is difficult and probably one of the least consistent forms of work to try and get into. I think it’s easy to have days where you compare your own progress to other peoples, especially in the age of social media. It can be hard to keep a positive mindset. I think not measuring my own achievements against others is something I constantly battle with

What would you like to see for artists in the city in the future?

Bristol already has an array of hubs and charities that aim to help young artists and provide them with support and funding for their own projects. I know that the pandemic will have made a serious dent in the progress of so many of these organisations, so I suppose in the future I hope that Bristol’s creative arts scene not only recovers but flourishes so that those without access to resources or heaps of pre-existing experience are still afforded opportunity to pursue creative careers.

Collaboration

Do you collaborate with other artists, and if so, who would you recommend? 

All of the artists I’ve collaborated with have been friends and I’d encourage anyone who knows likeminded individuals and wants to create content, to do so. I think working with friends can be such a nice dynamic, especially if you all have your own individual skill sets, there are always means of merging different mediums to create something original.

See more of Eleanor’s work here: eleanoralicehurley.squarespace.com/purple-girls  

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