Today we’d like to introduce you to Hillaree Hamblin.
Hillaree, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
I’ve been drawing and painting since I was a kid, but never thought to pursue art professionally until college. Initially, I planned on studying psychology, but my freshman year I took a couple drawing and painting courses and fell in love with being in the studio. I had some really supportive professors early on that encouraged me to pursue an art degree. Subsequently, I graduated from the University of Houston with a BFA in painting and then went on to receive my MFA from Houston Baptist University a few years later. I now teach art to a variety of grade levels, 3rd grade through college, and love that I get to talk about art with students of a variety of ages. If I’m not teaching, I’m most likely making work, hanging out with my cats, buying plants or watching Frasier.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
I consider myself primarily a soft sculptor, working with both organic and manmade materials like salt, charcoal, spray foam and plaster. My studio practice centers around the idea of preserving experience and giving memory a physical form. I’ve always been interested in how memories can cause very intense physical reactions and yet they are not entities we can see or touch. I ask myself a lot of questions as I’m working, such as: If a memory were to be translated into a tangible object, what might that look like? What color combination most reminds me of 1997? What type of cake flavor is most nostalgic for me? Just as memories are constantly being broken down and reformed in our minds, my works consist of shards and broken bits of past pieces molded together to create the final product. Overall, I’m attempting to enshrine my own personal history and give a sense of permanency to something as fragile and fleeting as memory.
What do you know now that you wished you had learned earlier?
Keep making work all of the time, even if you feel like you’re in a rut. Watch Frasier if you feel stressed. Don’t throw away old work or set it on fire because you might change your mind later. Always keep a sketchbook, alcohol and dark chocolate in your studio. Keep artwork you really love and care about away from your cats. Keep a plant or two in your studio to alleviate stress. But also keep them away from your cats.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
My work can be seen on my website (hillareehamblin.com) & Instagram (@hillareehamblin)