Monday, June 27, 2011

Monday Spotlight On: Sarah Hennessy of SometimesISwirl

I don't remember how I came across SometimesISwirl on Etsy.  She might have shown up in a TasteTest or in my activity feed as someone else's favorite or in that little section at the bottom of the front page labelled "You May Also Like."  All I knew is she was one of the few shops I favorited nearly immediately.  I have to admit, I think I like her art so much partly because it reminds me of my own.  Simple black lines that curve and swirl and move, basic color palettes, weirdly cool looking flowers and plants...any of this sounding familiar?

 Well, she's also like me in that she's twenty-eight (okay, I'm twenty-nine, but close enough), and is a brunette (though she dyes it red).  She's not like me in that she works as a university administrator and makes amazing pen and ink illustrations that are downright complex and beautiful.

Climbing Flower Pods 8x10 Print

Tell us three things about yourself: 
1) I majored in art history in college and wrote my senior thesis on the early French surrealist movement, which is by far my favorite art movement 2) I am obsessed with books about criminal psychology and memoirs about traumatic childhoods (I am quite well adjusted myself, though!), and 3) I am physically incapable of getting a brain freeze - I have never had one.

What’s your medium and how did you get into it? 
Although I’m constantly dabbling in everything, the medium I use the most is drawing with archival ink pens, preferably Prismacolor. I got into it by literally doodling on everything as a kid – in notebooks during class, on my shoes, on my walls, on my hands, quite seriously everywhere. And from there, I started focusing my linework within a 5x7 composition, then got bigger to 8x10, then 11x14, and so on. I also took quite a bit of art classes in high school and college, so I picked up some wonderful things there, and experimented a lot on my own. I also consider paint and fabric/thread to be favorite mediums as well.

What’s your favorite thing you’ve made? 
I would probably say my “City Built on an Axis” drawing because that’s what started my entire City Series.

City Built On An Axis 8x10 Black and White Print

From where do you take inspiration? 
All over the place – just last week, I was stuck in a budget meeting at work and was inspired to draw a new City Series composition after studying the wood paneling of the meeting room walls (the repetitive rectangular panels are a component I’m exploring in a new drawing). I was recently inspired by a swooping teardrop shape in a chandelier at a friend’s house and incorporated the shape in one of my flower drawings, so things jump out at me at all times from everywhere. If I had to be more general, I’d say the mehndi art tradition has a huge influence on me, as does the surrealist art movement. The early surrealists’ automatic drawings, or any black and white pen drawing really, are big inspirations. And I have to mention the early drawings of Paul Klee, who is perhaps my favorite artist of all time.

Name one piece of art you wish you’d created and why?
 I wish I had created Rene Magritte’s “The Key to the Fields” or something with the same concept, because I think it’s genius.

What are you doing when you’re not crafting? 
Since I’m still fairly new to home ownership, chances are good I’m doing something around the house, whether it be sewing a pillow cover, painting a room a new color, rehabbing a piece of furniture, I enjoy all of that. I also loooove to go thrifting (estate sales and church rummage sales are my favorite places to score deals) and I also get very addicted to books, particularly memoirs, or like I mentioned above, anything about criminally insane people. :) I have two cats and they entertain me quite often, and I also just enjoy hanging out with my husband - on evenings after work, we often go out to the backyard and just sit and chat over yummy wheat beers while firing up the grill.

If you had to give up your medium and pursue another, what would it be and why?
 I would probably go to sewing full-time. Lately I’ve been experimenting with my free-motion foot, which means you can sew with your machine in any direction without the machine actually feeding your fabric through at a steady pace, in just one linear direction. That means you’re literally creating pictures out of thread by pushing and pulling the fabric under the needle as it’s going a mile a minute. I also love quilting and embroidering, so fiber art is something I’d definitely be happy to take up more.

OOAK Black & White Swirl Pattern Pillow

Tell us about a time you were making something that came out better than expected and how it happened. 
Well when I first started embroidering, I had no clue what I was doing. I had never embroidered anything, and there I was trying to recreate one of my designs WITHOUT a pattern, and although it’s not perfect, I was shocked that I was able to translate my drawing into fabric and thread and that it turned out okay. Ever since, I’ve been doing a lot more embroidery hoops and actually have researched different types of stitches, etc.

Who is one person, living or dead, famous or not, who you wish owned one of your creations and why?
My first instinct was to say Tori Amos, and I’d say it’s because she is one of my all-time favorite musicians. She is so weird and wonderful and kind of “out there” and yet so so in touch with current events with a really smart, humanistic take on things. I just love her.

How would you explain how to do what you do to an eight year old?
 I would say that I get a piece of blank paper and some pens, I close my eyes and imagine something, anything that pops into my head. Then I open my eyes and try to draw it. Start with a small detail and let my hands work the design out from there. I never look at an actual physical object and try to draw it, everything pretty much comes up as I’m drawing.

What’s your favorite part of the process? 
Allowing new, unexpected things to happen on the page. One random thing you think people should know. I am obsessed with carbs – so much so that one year, for my birthday, my husband got me a gourmet loaf of bread and stuck candles in it instead of getting a cake. I could never, ever go on a low-carb diet.

Your shop address/facebook/Twitter/blog/website. Etc.

Rushing Swirls and Pods Original Illustration

If you could have one superpower what would it be? 
Definitely the ability to fly. It seems so freeing and amazing. I actually had a dream that I could fly when I was about 11 years old, and I can still remember to this day just how it felt in the dream – so cool.

1 comment:

  1. eee!! thank you so much jessica for this fabulous opportunity :)