EV Hardaker (Emma) is an artist and designer originally from Hull and now based in Leeds and Wakefield. Over the last decade she has grown a reputation for her socially engaged practice that employs bold patterns and punchy colour palettes to stimulate conversations with communities about places across the North and for her positive and visually arresting transformations of the public realm.
Central to this is a focus on involving local people in the journey and creating excitement through innovative, playful approaches and hands-on activities that rewrite perceived wisdom on community engagement. For Emma, pattern and colour are fun and accessible tools for interrupting everyday life, inspiring feelings such as happiness and recalling joyful experiences. She believes they can bring people together and act as a stimulus for discussions about place, well-being and collective agency beyond formal institutional settings. Geometric patterns recur in Emma’s work due to their potential for democratising the design process: versatile and transferable, they can be applied to virtually any situation and are easily taught, enabling people to become active producers of their own environments.
Previous projects in the public realm have included large-scale wall and pavement paintings and, increasingly, ambitious sculptural interventions. These sit alongside product ranges, prints and private commissions for clients including major developers, education providers, local authorities and commercial businesses in Bradford, Leeds, Manchester, Wakefield, York and other locations across the North.
Recent projects include the WOW Barn as part of Leeds 2023 Year of Culture and The Regent’s Street flyover.