HC: I'm an illustrator, and generally I love creating narrative work, images that look like they're part of a bigger story. For subject matter I'm a huge folklore/mythology nerd, so that comes up a lot . . . lots of stuff with symbolic plants and animals. Generally my top three things to draw are people, plants and food. I really enjoy making patterns as well.
Lately I've been getting into hand-drawn type though, which is also a lot of fun. Minneapolis has been a pretty great city inspiration and resource-wise, I've lived here for about half my life though, so I suppose I don't have a massive basis for comparison. Still, [it] seems like there's always some cool arts event happening, and loads of theatre, which is definitely a great source of inspiration for my art. I love how people come together and organize their own weird little events and zines and galleries. I went to MCAD, and I still live near there, so there's a web of pals who do art stuff together. Generally I feel very supported, though I'm still working on finding my way professionally.
What inspires you and how do you decide what artistic project you will work on next?
HC: My peers are crazy talented, so their work pushes me to keep going, though sometimes they're so good I feel a bit like giving up.
I really like doing research-based work, and fashion from other decades is something I gravitate towards. Sometimes I'll get a germ of an idea for something and then spend a bunch of time checking out books and scanning old illustrations and prints for inspiration.
I'm really big on art deco and Erté. I like a bold silhouette. Seeing a really good piece of live theatre makes me really want to draw, so I'll do some sketches after that. The Minnesota Opera does this awesome social media preview night for artists and bloggers where you can come see a dress rehearsal and sketch.
Wandering around Minneapolis is great too; I'll spot some weird detail in something and it'll just stick with me. Cooking also makes me want to draw because I'm very vain about it and if I make something good I almost want to make an illustration just to commemorate it.
HC: I fortunately have a lot of friends of a creative bent. My friends from school who work in illustration/design sometimes point out opportunities for me, and I work at a theatre part time, so my pals there will sometimes hook me up with a little freelance. I don't really think of it as networking because they're people I really genuinely like and we just sort of look out for each other.
HC: I really enjoy collaborating; I'd like to do more of it. I definitely ask my friends for input on what I'm working on, sometimes to the point of pestering. In my school days my friends and I worked on a circus-themed zine together, which turned out pretty sick.
HC: I've found my friends to be a really vital resource when it comes to finding opportunities and meeting new people. I think the more you try to help your friends out in any way you can with career/promotion stuff, the more that comes back to you, so I keep my eyes peeled and try to spread stuff around my little community of art buddies.
I put all my work up online. I have a website that's more curated but also an art blog on tumblr that's got all my sketches and finished works. I've found that talking to other artists and creators on tumblr generates more visibility. When you really like something, whether it's a book or a theatre group or even fandom stuff, reaching out and telling people how much you appreciate what they make can really mean a lot to them, especially if it's a small, independent artist or group. I've made art inspired by books and theatre and stuff and put it out there and found myself getting responses or even a bit of promotion from those creators, which is awesome for me on a nerdy, "oh my god these cool people are talking to me" level, but as an added bonus, it sometimes brings in other people who like the same things you do and they start looking at your art. This hasn't lead me to a massively lucrative illustration career just yet, but it's really gratifying and it's led to a lot of new connections and friendships.
Do you have any favorite art venues/organizations in the Twin Cities?
HC: Boy do I! If you're looking for cool, weird puppet theatre on a budget, Open Eye Figure Theatre does some crazy awesome stuff. I saw The Juniper Tree there a while back and I fell in love. As I mentioned before, Social Media Preview Night at the Minnesota Opera is rad, and a good place to meet other artists. The Light Grey Art Lab is a really amazing illustration gallery in the Eat Street area, free to come and check out and always full of gorgeous work.
I'm extremely excited to be featured in their upcoming show Patches and Stitches opening July 3rd. It's a show featuring artist-designed patches and embroidered artwork, and I'll be selling two different patch designs with a baking theme. Each patch will come with matching colored safety pins and three of five buttons I've designed to compliment them. I'm not allowed to post the final artwork online yet, but I can show you a little zoomed in sneak peek of the patches and one of the buttons. It's a limited edition of ten of each patch, so get 'em while they're fresh!