Artists are as much a part of our magazine as film makers; so we are always delighted when we get a chance to chat and admire their work, so we have a real treat in store today as artist Brittany Hanks has stopped by to talk about her work and the art scene in general.
Brittany thank you so much for taking the time to come chat with us, can you just tell our readers a little bit about yourself?
"Sure! My name is Brittany Hanks and I am a Professional Artist and Illustrator. I am 26, and I live in Chicago with my husband and two cats. My work ranges from Oil Painting to Tattoo Design and Illustration, but I am probably best known for my Shirt Design work for Too Fast Brand and other alternative clothing companies."
Your work is very distinctive; where you do you find your ideas and influences?
"Thank you! A teacher of mine once said “You don't create art in a vacuum” and I think that's very true. A lot of my daily life and interests, and things I find aesthetically appealing get jumbled up in my head and it comes out in my work. I am definitely influenced by the things I enjoy – Folklore, Mystery, Bright Colours. I also really love Art Nouveau, Gothic and Tattoo Art."
Your work has appeared on many different types of merchandise including watches, t-shirts and bags, do you think this is the standard for artists these days, moving away from the more traditional having your work hang in a gallery, or is it just a way to keep the wolf from the door helped by the internet?
"That is an interesting question! I do think that it is probably more common these days for artists to find alternative, or supplemental vehicles by which to sell their work as opposed to strictly in gallery setting. For me, I always had an interest in expanding to apparel, ( which was facilitated by designing for other clothing companies) so the progression was natural. I think that artists these days are also lucky to have the opportunity to utilize so many different avenues by which to get their work seen, and they don't necessarily have to be exclusive to each other. For example, some of my shirt designs are done in oil paint, and though the shirts are being sold commercially, the originals are currently hanging in a gallery in down town Chicago. I truly believe there is no set path in art, but by maintaining good business practices, and staying true to yourself, you can create a path that is right for you."
Of all your pieces of work which ones are your particular favourite and why?
"At the moment, my favourite piece is one I did for myself as a celebration of my one year anniversary of doing art fulltime. It is one of my Day of the Dead girls, with pink hair, red roses and paintbrushes in her hair. I did it as an oil painting, and got it tattooed as a symbol of what I have accomplished so far and a reminder to work hard and grow further."
Brittany which medium do you prefer to work with when creating your work – oils, pastels, inks etc?
"Oil painting is definitely my all time favourite medium. I would say that at the moment most of my work is either done in oils on wood, completely in graphite on paper, or done digitally in vector. It usually depends on the project I am working on, though I really enjoy all three."
I know our readers would be very interested in how you go about creating your art, can you briefly run through the process of taking an idea to completion?
"Absolutely! I think my process is pretty standard- first I come up with my general idea and do a very, very rough sketch. This is mostly for placement and to get my idea down. Depending on whether I like it or not, I either move forward to my next step, or redraw it as many times as it takes to feel right. I then move onto a detailed drawing which is my blueprint for the whole piece. After it is completely drawn in, I move forward to the paint if it is a painting, to shading if it is in graphite, and scan it into the computer if it is a vector drawing!"
I have to say I am a big fan of museums with the Tate Modern in London being one of my favourites, although I did enjoy the Tin Tin Museum in Brussels, do you have a personal liking for any particular Museum or artist which stands out and gives you that kind of 'wow' factor?
"There are so many wonderful museums that it's hard to pick! I would say that the Louvre is my favourite museum. My husband and I were in Europe last summer and we had the most wonderful time there. There is just so much art to see, your mind can't take it all in. Getting to see so many paintings that you are familiar with from art history books in person in one overwhelming, gorgeous spot is just amazing."
Your work to me at times almost looks like mosaic with hints of darkness that is somehow smothered in delicious vibrant colours that transform it in to something cool “Wow I sound like some art critic that knows what he’s talking about!” How best would you describe your work?
"Heheh! That's a great description! I find it hard to describe my own work. I think it probably falls into the Lowbrow Art category. A lot of my work is Day of the Dead and Tattoo Art influenced, but I also would consider a lot of it “ Dark Nouveau” ( Dark + Art Nouveau 🙂 ) I like combining mysterious or darker subject matter with bright colors, in the end my goal is for my pieces to be beautiful but also hold an air of mystery."
One last question before we throw some fun questions at you, what advice would you offer any artists starting out? And from experience, are there any particular drawing tools or methods they should try?
"My advice is to practice, practice, practice! If you are in school, then your teachers have probably been drilling the idea of “drawing from life” in your head – it's invaluable and will help out immensely. I always say that the most important thing other than having a strong foundation of which to build your future skills on, is to take a few business classes. I find that the business side of art is usually a struggle for artists even if you go college for art, since many schools focus solely on a classical art education and do not even mention money. The fact is, if you want to make a living following your dream of being an artist, taking a few business classes will give you the skills to handle the things that you will need to as a creative professional."
Now we come to our fun questions that we always throw at our guests…..
Do you own a pair pink fluffy slippers or any fluffy slippers for that matter? "Yep! I do. They are actually pink and fluffy, though they are more like fluffy boot/slippers. They are like walking on clouds :)"
What was the last movie you watched? "Evil Dead 2013. I think it stayed true to the feeling of the original, which is one of my favourite movies ever."
I know you and your husband are big Dr Who fans, so who is your favourite Doctor, and why “think carefully”? "Yes! A Dr Who question!! 🙂 My husband and I have actually watched every episode ever from the very first to the current season (including the reconstructed episodes) so it is a hard choice. Every actor who plays the Doctor brings something different to the table. My favourite Doctor is William Hartnell. As the first Doctor he was the original, and some of my favourite episodes were from his time as the Doctor. Watching the evolution of the show over the decades, as well as the Doctor's character and his interactions, it's so interesting to see where it all started and how much it has changed!"
Do you have any fears like spiders or snakes? "I do have a little bit of a fear of heights, but not in airplanes oddly, just tall buildings."
We like crazy t-shirts do you have a favourite you wear and why?
"Most of my favourite shirts are the ones I have reconstructed or cut up that I have had since I was a teenager. Most of them were oversized so I cut them to be more stylish and fitting. I have a Reggie and the Full Effect shirt that I did that to and I wear all the time."
What music do you like to listen too?
"Growing up I listened to mostly Punk and Ska. Now I listen to everything from Punk and Ska to Viking Metal, Dance, Freestyle, Miami Bass, Indie, Dancehall, Trip Hop, you name it. If it's good music I like it!"
Wow time has gone fast its been great chatting to you Brittany and to all those fans out there wanting to see more of Brittany's work check out the links below.