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YYC Artist Spotlight / Madison Hope

YYC Artist Spotlight / Madison Hope

Now more than ever before, we have realized the importance of supporting our local business' and artists. This pandemic has highlighted something that I think we always knew, but just now have really taken to heart: support local. 

With the holidays coming up very quick, everyone is looking for local treats that they can gift to their loved ones. There are so many incredibly talented artists and artisans in our city, and, believe me, with a little research you'll be able to find everything on your list right inside our very own city. Our feature artist for this month is multi-talented, working with several different mediums, creating beautiful art for both your home and your body.

Let me introduce to you, Madison Hope. Madison Hope is a long time artist and new to the tattoo industry. After graduating from ACAD in 2014, she spent years forming her artistic practice into what it is today. Part of her practice is devoted to print work, paintings, and other displays of her illustrations, inspired by natural form and using plant life and the human figure as her main subjects. In this practice, she explores various mediums and is constantly experimenting and challenging her artistic vision. From prints, to jewelry design, to three dimensional artwork, she is constantly looking for new ways to bring her artistic vision to life. The other part of her practice is devoted to hand poke tattooing, which was a passion that developed throughout her adult life out of a love for the art form and an interest in the ceremony of tattooing. After several years of planning, Madison opened her first private studio at NVRLND Arts Foundation in December of 2018 with her studio partner and friend Lindsay K. Together they design and work out of the space, allowing them the opportunity to pursue their long term ambitions in the tattoo industry.

We asked Madison some questions, and here is what she had to say: 

Jill: What made you decide to pursue art?

Madison: I’ve actually had ambitions to become an artist in one form or another for as long as I can remember. When I graduated ACAD in 2014 I found an art book I coloured in sometime in kindergarten, and at the back it said ‘when Madison grows up, she wants to be and artist’, and I think about how perfect that is all the time. My mom is very artistic and I really looked up to her skill when I was young. Then I was lucky enough to have a lot of teachers over the years that focused on creativity in the classroom which kind of fostered my creativity throughout my schooling, then when I was able to decide my own education, art school was the obvious answer. It’s been a lifelong thing, really.

Who or what have been your biggest inspirations so far to date though your creative journey?

Very honestly my parents have been my biggest inspiration, nothing really keeps you going quite like a lifelong cheering squad. With my work specifically though, I really just find inspiration in other people's passion and talent. I feel an overwhelming sense of urgency to work and create when I’ve been moved by another work of art, or film, or even song.

Do you have any rituals, “must haves”, or favourite places you go to for when you work?

I’m really most happy just sitting at the coffee table in my living room to work. I like to feel comfortable and at home while I’m creating, which means my pup curled up on the couch behind me and a warm cup of coffee in my hand while I work. I’ve tried to set up a home office and it just doesn’t feel the same as my little spot on the floor for some reason.

How did you get started as a handpoke tattoo artist?

When I was at ACAD I had a few friends ask me to draw up some tattoo designs for them, and being interested in tattooing and the culture already, I was curious about tattooing as a profession and decided to look into it. The scene in Calgary at the time didn’t really match my style or ideals, and as much as I wanted to be a part of it I didn’t want to sacrifice my aesthetic so I kind of put that idea on the back burner for a while. Eventually I discovered there were these hand poke artists out there working in real shops and kind of breaking out of the cliche idea of a tattoo shop and what a tattoo artist looked like and opening up the industry to new styles and ideas, and I was so inspired by that kind of ethos that I new it would be the perfect fit for me. I spent a lot of time learning and researching, and a couple years later Lindsay and I opened our studio!

(Madison at NVRLND Arts Foundation )

(No. 3 Basic earring in 14k gold fill earring)


Tell me about your newest business Freeform Jewelry!

Yes! I’m so happy to have this up and running! I’ve been very interested in jewelry making since my early teenage years, and it’s kind of been living in the shadow of my tattooing and other art for a while now waiting to really make its debut. There have been limited releases of jewelry though my No More Sad Days brand before, but I really wanted to create a full collection, and I decided the best way to do that was to start a brand specifically for my jewelry. My basic vision for Freeform was to create high quality jewelry in a variety of collections with options for every price point. I do have some higher priced work, but primarily I wanted to offer smaller jewelry staples with longer lifespans, as well as statement pieces that wouldn’t break the bank.

I can't wait to own a pair of your earrings, Madison, I have my eye on a pair of the No. 6

Do you have another local favourite artist that you love? Who are they, and why?

Bramble Lee Pryde is one of my favourite local artist and also works out of NVRLND where we have our tattoo studio. She is the creator behind everything at Le Lou Ula and also owns and runs White Rabbit, which is a collective shop of local and sustainable creators. Not only is she an incredibly talented creator herself, she has also shown me that it’s very possible to be a multidisciplinary artist and still create a cohesive brand. Her dedication to keeping her work genuine and doing only what she is passionate about is so inspiring, and it really shows in everything she does. You can really tell that everything she makes has a part of herself in it and it just makes her work that much more special.

How has COVID affected your art? Have you done anything creative during this time that you otherwise wouldn’t have done?

I had a really hard time feeling inspired over the lockdown, I think a lot of us did, and I wasn’t really creating a whole lot. Once I was able to get back to work in July I kind of kicked things into high gear. Even though I wasn’t super productive over lockdown, I definitely did a lot of thinking about what direction I wanted to take my career and what I wanted to do next, and that definitely paved the way to creating Freeform.


What is your all time favourite musical artist?

Hard! I really have to be a boring cliche artist and say Bon Iver. I can go back to their music at any time and still feel connected to it.

If you could pick just ONE food to eat for the rest of your life, what would it be?

I had to leave this question until the end because it was somehow the hardest one to answer, but I never get tired of a really good Buddha bowl so I think that’s what I’ll go with.

What is your coffee order?

Usually a 1% condensed milk latte!

Do you make coffee at home? IF so, how?

We’ve been lucky enough to test out one of the Breville espresso machines and I don’t think I can ever go back to pour overs.

What’s on your Christmas list this year?

I’m trying to stock up on jewelry making supplies, but honestly the best gift would be to hug every single one of my friends and family again!


Do you have any exciting projects coming up? If so, can you tell us about them?

Given the direction that things are moving right now, I’m trying to work on some new things outside of tattooing incase that isn’t an option in the near future. I’ll have a new 

Etsy page for Freeform and a No More Sad Days Etsy update of prints, posters, and other artwork! Also, there will be a new drop of one of a kind jewelry pieces on the Freeform etsy page coming the second week of December!

Where can we find you and your work?

I won’t be participating in and markets this season, but if you’re local, the best place to check out all my work is by shopping through Instagram! I can easily arrange a contactless pickup time Sunday-Tuesday at my studio so you don’t have to pay shipping. Otherwise, I have most of my available work up on both of my etsy pages: FreeformbyMadison and Nomoresaddays.



You can learn more about hand poke tattooing and all of Madison’s creations and ventures by visiting her Instagram pages,  and  @_nomoresaddays, where you can find links to all of her websites and stay up to date on her latest work.



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