Desperate Smooches and Kebab Emotions: The hen-do paintings of Kate Ducker
by Tenaya Steed
Before white dresses, pristine bouquets, and crying Grandmas - there are messy nights out in L plates and mornings after so dire they spark collective cries of NEVER DRINKING AGAIN. This carnivalesque debauchery is summed up perfectly by the paintings and monoprints of Illustrator Kate Ducker in her visual exploration into UK hen party culture.
Giant angry women and drunk karaoke singers make up just some of the imperfectly perfect cast of this nastily glamorous lot. Kate started out painting scary women next to frantic Abba lyrics on street walls in Brighton - an attempt to disrupt the (predominantly male) flow of graffiti in the area. As her work evolves, she focuses on female relationships, rage, and nights out in her refreshingly loose prints and paintings. She is completely unafraid to stray away from the creamy milkshake colors so popular in current illustration works – more than happy to slap in some murky browns with her garish pinks and yellows. Kate invites viewers in with her relatable and accessible concepts, forcing them to reflect on the deeper political issues surrounding the seemingly lighthearted canvas.
Kate is devoted to capturing the art of hen-do’s, an obsession that's granted her secret access into forbidden Facebook albums, and prompted her own tribute hen-do act staged through the streets of Liverpool. She paints all our “kebab emotions” in her hilarious satire on raucous consumerism, always with real affection for female-only traditions and the camaraderie between women getting dressed up together. Kate’s series tells of big heels, big hearts, and big blow-up penis’; and she tells it all with the kind of crude lines and unapologetic mess that make up any good night out.