CH.89: If you were to categorize or describe the style of your artwork, what would it be and why?

HD: I make small intimate paintings that sit between figuration and abstraction. I render descriptive elements with varying levels of information to summon a psychological energy. Each painting is a vignette within the larger narrative of my life.

CH.89: Where do you draw your inspiration from?

HD: Small moments in my daily life like sharing a cup of morning coffee, grabbing a bite from the fridge, or taking a nap with the pups inspire me. I love finding glimmers of light and moments of serenity and beauty in the fleeting moments.

CH.89: Can you talk a little bit about what your creative thought process is like when starting a new project/ piece of artwork?

HD: I read the Artist’s Way years ago and have a practice of writing three “Morning Pages” almost everyday. It keeps me grounded and more able to find a state of flow. I am always snapping quick photos as sources for paintings. The other day my partner was mopping the bathroom and I saw the light streaming through the curtain. Our dog was sniffing the mop, there were glimmers of water on the floor, and boom I saw a flicker of a painting in my mind and quickly snapped some pictures. I choose to paint based on the light, intimacy I feel I can bring to life or some other guttural feeling. The photo is a starting point and it’s my intention to transcend the initial image through the painting. 

CH.89: Is there anything in particular that you would want people to take from your artwork?

HD: I want people to take away the feeling of a life lived along with a genuine emotional history.

CH.89: Can you talk a little bit about your lifestyle as an artist and what that is like?

HD: Art is on the brain 24/7. In addition to painting, I am also a full time public school art teacher. Teaching is a creative act in itself; however, I need to be laser focused in carving out time to paint and think. My studio is in a second bedroom in my apartment. I paint in the AM before work and on the weekends. I regularly take courses with NYC Crit Club—this program gives me an environment of fellow artists to grow and learn from. My partner, Joshua Drayzen, is also an artist so we are able to give each other feedback on our work at home and discuss ideas…he is the BEST and knows the progression of my work since we found each other nineteen years ago. We try to meet with fellow artist friends a few times a month whether it be through studio visits, going to openings, or sharing a meal.

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? 

HD: There is no one way to do anything–I think it’s best to avoid absolutes in art. For me, it’s helpful to start with an initial idea and build one idea from another, taking time to deeply look and listen for the next move.

CH.89: What is one major lesson you’ve learned as an artist thus far?

HD: Always follow your curiosity and lean into what feels good/right in your work.

CH.89: Do you regard personal style & taste to be of highest importance?

HD: No

CH.89: What do you consider to be the hardest thing about being an artist?


CH.89: What is one thing you love about being an artist?

HD: The community!

CH.89: Is there anyone in particular, any artist’s that inspire you in any way?

HD: Josh Drayzen (the muse!), family, friends, dogs (Winifred and Winslow!), color, light, movement, and everyday moments. I regularly look at painters from history like Pierre Bonnard, Edouard Vuillard, Berthe Morisot, Claude Monet, and Edvard Munch as well as contemporary painters. I saw an exhibition of David Hockney’s drawings at The Morgan Library a few years ago that transported me–it was such a treat to see his drawings of friends and loved ones evolve over his lifetime. Jennifer Packer’s show at the Whitney was jaw-dropping. I went twice– her sensitivity, intimacy, and color are awe inspiring. Aubrey Levinthal is another favorite contemporary painter–I could linger with her paintings all day and get lost in them.  My NYC CRIT Club community of artists including the legends Catherine Haggarty and Hilary Doyle.

CH.89: What do you think of technology in terms of being a useful tool for artists today?

HD: Technology gives me a platform to share my work and connect with people. It’s given me opportunities to share my work virtually and in person. It can definitely be a time suck so I’m always trying to find balance. 

CH.89: Do you think being an artist allows you to view the world differently from those who don’t follow creative paths?

HD: I think it all depends on the person–but I find I’m able to see beauty in the mundane and it makes life exciting.

CH.89: Do you enjoy traveling? If so, do you have a favorite city?

HD: I love traveling but NYC is my favorite city and home. I could definitely live in Paris for one year.

CH.89: Do you have a favorite author or book?

HD: Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert–I listen to it at least once a year on Audible.

CH.89: Any future goals or plans for your artwork? 

HD: Overall just keep plugging along going deeper into the magic of painting and see where it takes me. Of course all of the professional goals like exhibitions, residencies, art fairs are in mind all the time but all of this is in service of being able to make more paintings. I’ve also fallen head over heels for ceramics so I’m excited to explore this new found love further.

CH.89: What does being an artist mean to you? 

HD: To be brave, curious, and follow my instincts–everyday for the rest of my life.

CH.89: What’s the last song you listened to? 

HD: George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass

CH.89: Any last words on the aesthetic of your artwork?

HD: Color and light are another figure in the work–they play an essential role in heightening the tenderness and intimacy and hold the work together.


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