CH.89: If you were to categorize or describe the style of your artwork, what would it be and why?
AH: I trained as an illustrator, and so my work is always about communication. No matter the technique or the medium, everything is in service to the idea or story I’m trying to communicate.
CH.89: Where do you draw your inspiration from?
AH: I read a lot, so I draw a lot of inspiration from what I read. I find that going out to draw on location always gets me going if I’ve stalled. And lastly, I look at a lot of art, to remind myself of how many ways there are to skin the cat. Anything is valid for artists, and it’s all available.
CH.89: Can you talk a little bit about what your creative thought process is like when starting a new project/ piece of artwork?
AH: I make a few thumbnails, and then take my favorite in a couple of different directions. I try to think of the graphics that make sense for the idea. I might make a quick color study, but I’m more likely to jump right in.
CH.89: Is there anything in particular that you would want people to take from your artwork?
AH: Visual art is like fiction in that it can be a glimpse into someone else’s life, someone else’s point of view. One of the benefits of reading fiction is that it cultivates empathy. Writers do that just by telling someone’s story; I’d like to do the same with my work.
CH.89: Can you talk a little bit about your lifestyle as an artist and what that is like?
AH: I work as a freelance graphic designer and alternate taking projects for short periods and working on my own work. It’s ideal because I actually like the job, and because it gives me some time that’s completely my own as well. I find it hard to work a job and then come home and make something. When I come home tired from work, I just want to cook some food, and read a book, and go to bed. And then to find time to do all the other things I’d like to do: go to the gym, see friends, enjoy a hobby? Impossible! And you have to build in time for false starts and time to experiment with things that just don’t work out. Art is time and labor intensive, so I try to set up my life to accommodate that. Now if I could only eliminate procrastination from my skill set!
CH.89: When starting out an artistic task, do you think it is better to have a particular direction/set plan guiding your way? Or, is it better to act on impulse and go from there?
AH: I think it’s important to have a plan or a direction when you start out, but to be able to lay it aside if you have an impulse. Without a direction, it’s hard to get started at all, and you might never get that impulse otherwise. But if you get a flash of inspiration while you’re following your plan, by all means, grab it!
CH.89: What is one major lesson you’ve learned as an artist thus far?
AH: I’ve learned that you have to believe in yourself. Unless you have confidence in yourself, it’s impossible to follow through with your ideas. When you think about it, saying that you’re going to use your time to create things takes a lot of moxie. Who’s to say it’s going to be any good anyway? But you have to ignore all that and do it. No one will believe in it if you don’t believe in it first.
CH.89: Do you regard personal style & taste to be of highest importance?
AH: Well, my personal style and taste is of highest importance to me, but everyone has their own. Of course, that’s going to shape what the work looks like, so I try to be careful not to get too trapped in it. I expose myself to a lot of diverse things, because taste should grow and evolve, and it deepens the well I have to draw from.
CH.89: What do you consider to be the hardest thing about being an artist?
AH: I find people have a lot of strange ideas about art and artists: that it’s always fun or easy, or that I would do it even if I weren’t getting paid, so why don’t I just give some work to them? It’s hard work and artists have bills like everyone else. It seems like it should go without saying: artists should get paid when their work is used.
CH.89: What is one thing you love about being an artist?
AH: I love everything about being an artist. If I had to choose, I love being able to take an idea and communicate it to people.
CH.89: Is there anyone in particular, any artists that inspire you in any way?
AH: Too many to name! If I had to choose one to talk about, it would be Picasso. He endlessly reinvents the picture to show you what he wants, how he wants. It’s not so much that I love everything he did, but I love that he was always trying something new. It’s so easy to forget all the freedom that art affords us. He reminds me to take advantage of that freedom.
CH.89: What do you think of technology in terms of being a useful tool for artists today?
AH: I think it is a useful tool, as your question says. But it’s not the only tool, or the most important. I think drawing is an integral part of learning to think visually, and will always be the most important thing for an artist to learn.
CH.89: Do you think being an artist allows you to view the world differently from those who don’t follow creative paths?
AH: I think it’s an open, curious approach to the world. The nice thing is that it’s a viewpoint anyone can adopt, whether they’re an artist or not.
CH.89: Do you enjoy traveling? If so, do you have a favorite city?
AH: My favorite city is the one I live in! It can be hard to pry myself out of New York, but I do like to travel. I’ve enjoyed trips to London, Paris, and Stockholm, but I’m always happy to come home.
CH.89: Do you have a favorite author or book?
AH: Again, too many to name here. I really love fiction, but lately I’ve been trying to read more non-fiction.
CH.89: Any future goals or plans for your artwork?
AH: I’m going to Japan this spring and I’m looking forward to that.
CH.89: What does being an artist mean to you?
AH: It means the freedom to follow your own inclinations, your own sensibilities, interests, thoughts.
CH.89: What’s the last song you listened to?
AH: Undertow by Warpaint.
CH.89: Any last words on the aesthetic of your artwork?
AH: Hopefully my work expresses itself better than anything I could say with words.
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