Today we’d like to introduce you to Jill Hakala.
Jill, 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 ever since I could hold a crayon. My mother will recall stories of when I was little and I would ask to stay up so I could finish a drawing. She has been the biggest supporter of my art career. She encouraged me to study art in college. I went to Michigan State University and graduated in 2013 with my BFA in Studio art.
I moved from Michigan to Texas in 2014. I began participating in exhibitions around Houston, thanks to my good friend and mentor Dianne K Webb. I went to college with her niece, who introduced us before I knew I was moving to Houston. While I was still in Michigan, I was a part of “Finding Self: An All Woman Art Show” Dianne curated in 2013. Dianne gave me great advice for how to get started as a working artist. I started regularly showing at exhibitions at Hardy and Nance and was invited to participate as a featured artist for their 2016 Artcrawl. The following year I was in Studio G at Hardy and Nance.
When Hurricane Harvey came through, we got about eight inches of water in throughout the building. Some artists left, but I moved from Studio G to Studio 2. I love being a part of the art community at Hardy and Nance. I’ve definitely grown as an artist; the people here have helped me refine my work and focus.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
I create artwork that combines science with the abstract. I mainly work in acrylic, watercolor, and gouache. When I was at Michigan State University, I started combining paper pulp with paint to create a texture on the canvas. It becomes similar to a hard watercolor paper and takes wet mediums well. My first painting that I used this texture on, “Three Years,” was created as I attempted to map out a relationship I had. The cellular structures represent the smallest parts of the relationship, while the more atmospheric imagery represents the biggest parts. This was the painting that started the main focus of my art career.
I create artwork that has incorporated anatomy and organ illustrations, especially the heart and the brain. My mother is a nurse, and my grandpa was a doctor in the navy. Growing up with all of that medical knowledge has been a huge influence on my interests and my artwork. I find the human body fascinating–how it is constantly working and we don’t even realize it. I have been learning more about neuroscience and how our body functions. When I’m not painting organs, I also enjoy painting deer and other antlered creatures.
For 2019, I have been working on my 365 project–doing one artwork a day for a year. I had attempted to do this project last year, but I didn’t really have a strong focus on the project. Last year was more for myself, just to keep up my art practice. But when I got sick, I didn’t do any painting for a week, and I couldn’t find the inspiration to get it going again. For this year, I wanted to create work that would be showcased together and could show my progression throughout the year. All of my daily paintings are 5″x7″ in size and will be connected and displayed in a single line. I was inspired by the exquisite corpses created in the Dada art period. It will be about 152′ long when it’s completed.
What I hope that people will take away from my artwork is emotion. I want viewers to feel something when they see my artwork. It doesn’t matter too much if what they see or feel was what I had intended; just so long as they feel something.
Artists face many challenges, but what do you feel is the most pressing among them?
I think one of the biggest challenges facing working artists today is finding ways to reach our audiences. With the internet and social media being such a big part of how artists connect with their viewers, it can be difficult to figure out the algorithms that connect us the most.
Being of the millennial generation, I have grown up with the internet. I’ve seen how we’ve gone from dial-up and blocking the phone landlines, to accessing the internet on our phones. With so many social media channels to choose from where to post my artwork, I’ve found that narrowing my focus of what social media channels that I do post to that I am able to post more high quality and genuine content. Knowing what time of day to post, what kinds of hashtags, and how frequently to post online has helped me better connect with my viewers. Learning about social media has been essential in helping my audience grow outside of Houston.
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?
You can find me in Studio 2 at Hardy and Nance Studios. I’m usually always there for Third Saturday Open Studios at Hardy and Nance. I’m also at the First Saturday Arts Market frequently–I’ll be there for the June and September shows.
I will have several pieces at Jack Rabbit Gallery, which will be having its grand opening on May 31st. I have a solo exhibition up at Hop Scholar Ale House through June 14th, which will be the closing reception.
You can see my artwork on my website, on my Facebook page, and on my Instagram. You can also sign up for my newsletter on my website, which I send out about once a month to let people know where I will be during the month.
- Address: 902 Hardy St
Houston, TX 77020
- Website: https://www.jillhakala.com/
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jillhakala/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jillhakala