introducing...an artist interview
Introducing artist, Sarah Hannevik...
Is there a particular rhythm you have around your creative work time? If so, what does it look like?
I am an English teacher and have Wednesdays off. I make sure my house is clean and all pressing things are done by Tuesday so that Wednesday morning, after I kiss the children off to school, I can sit down with my coffee in hand and dog at my feet and get to work. After so many years of trying to do it all, all the time, I have found good ways to structure my time and say "no" to things that I don't have time for.
How many work spaces do you have and how/why do they work for you?
I have one work space that I share with my husband. In our two previous homes, I had a room to myself, but find sharing a creative space with my husband is much more fun - we have desks facing each other and often sit in the evening drinking wine and talking. I love this space, we have good storage, loads of colour and our most favourite black leather Le Corbusier sofa, the first piece of furniture we bought together! This room has big windows and loads of morning sun - it is a great space for me to create and reflect.
Do you do any "cross training" (activities that may enhance or spark your creativity)?
I do yoga and it helps me stay in a mindful, balanced state - peaceful and open for creative inspiration. I am actually working on a workshop that will focus on the mindful state one gains from yoga and how that enhances creativity. I also take daily walks with my dog. We often go into the forest and here I try to clear my head and just be with him in nature, deep breathing and relaxing. When I can give my mind peaceful space, then I am much more likely to come up with creative ideas that work.
Where do you seek inspiration for your work?
I have a 10-year old girl and an 8-year old boy and much of the work I do tries to convey a message to them. I want to remind them to love themselves, take chances, reflect, and show empathy. I also still get a lot of inspiration from the 3 years we lived in S. Korea. I was very inspired by modern Asian art, it has a naiveté and playfulness that I seldom see in Europe but at the same time they combine a peaceful connection to nature, often using natural materials in their artwork. South Koreans seem to really take chances with different kinds of media, very inspiring! I also have a long list of favourite artists, websites and blogs that help me out of creative black holes. Pinterest and Flickr is great for seeing what other artists are up to.
Generally, how long are your work periods?
Depends on the project, but I usually work for 2-3 weeks really intensely and then do other things for 2 weeks. I have to give myself a mental break, step back and get new impulses. I am also a mother, so I have to keep myself balanced and not get too consumed by my projects.
When do you know that you need to "take a break" or stop working (for the moment)?
When my eyes start to cross or when my daughter tells me "you are always so busy", which ever comes first! I used to get so insanely consumed that my family would see me for dinner but not much before or after, but I came to a point where I felt totally off balance. These last 2 years I have figured out how to manage my time better. I may produce a bit less but I have a lot more time with my family.
Do you suffer from perfectionism and if so, what techniques do you use to manage this?
I don't! I love the imperfect, that is one of the main foundations of my work. I really hate perfect lines, perfect seams and perfect stitches. I am always attracted to artwork that has a bit of sloppiness to it, it seems free - I want to look at and create art that reminds us that the world is far from perfect, it's chaotic and turbulent - Aspiring to perfection is a futile job and can only led to frustration and stress. My water-colour creatures are in essence a representation our our imperfection, our worry/stress, our strangeness and our ironic humour - I try to expose this in the face of my characters.
If you don't, what experiences do you feel are responsible for taking you off the hook here?
I don't know really but I've never defined myself against what others can do or are doing. I think the need for perfection comes so much from this ideal you that you want others to see. Saying this, I am not immune to wondering what people think of me or if they like my work, as an artist one is quite exposed. Maybe the one experience I had what when I was in 5th grade and my mother said to my twin sister and I - "It's ok to be different!" In some way this opened up a path for me to cultivate myself for me, find my own standards that fit.
Do you have a creative support system? How important is this to your process?
I used to have a very creative support system in Korea. We lived right in the middle of a great part of town in Busan where there were galleries and art activities on a weekly basis. Here in Oslo, I struggle to find a relaxed, quirky, "we-don't-take-ourselves-too-seriously" kind of environment (I suspect many are on a quest for perfection :)). That being said I have a wonderful group of friends that support me creatively and even buy my work! Creating a wider creative support system is a goal of mine, I think it is essential to a vibrant creative life.
More About Sarah:
I am an American/Norwegian living in Oslo, Norway. I was born in Denver and as a child lived in Minnesota, Michigan, and Atlanta. In my mid-20's I decided to explore the country I had always loved about and here I am 15 years later! I come from a family full of artists and entrepreneurs, I grew up where design, colour and beauty were very much valued. I worked for many years in web development, but have recently started teaching English. I am currently getting a teaching degree. I have two funny, kind, creative children who never cease to give me massive amounts of joy!
I create art that attempts to capture the imperfections in a world where things sometimes are not what they seem. In addition to trying to capture these odd details of life, I also want to communicate a message of positivity, strength and humor. I think a lot about my children when I create and the positive way I want them to see themselves and the world around them. Incorporating materials from my travels in Asia, I create unique mixed media wall art, art dolls and cushions.
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/SarahHannevik
Porfolio Blog - www.sarahhannevik.com
Pinterest - http://pinterest.com/sarahsmiles/