Sophie Hansen

What initially captured your imagination about the medium you use?  Actually, I don’t use a ‘one-and-only’ medium. I would say that I mainly use acrylics and oils; however, I also have used watercolors, pencil, and crayon. Originally, I drew fanatically, with the archetypical 2HB pencil. I remember at one point I holed myself up in my room for hours on end, perfecting a realistic profile of a character’s face. That habit has carried on. I still spend 3-5 hours working on a single piece, when I have the time. I can lose almost a full day structuring one painting.

What types of things inspire you to create art?  Books, music, and my own imagination are motivations to create. Representing movement and life through art. When I hear a composition of sound, read, or even people-watch, I find myself constructing an imagined image, an interconnecting web of color, composition, and design derived from the external stimuli. I process the concept with other things I’ve thought or heard, and try to pull it all together into a single piece. I like seeing if I can “draw” viewers into a different universe. My artwork is an attempt to dramatize ideas and make them stand out as an oddity in a world of things already seen and known. 

What life experiences have helped to shape you as an artist? I was (and still am) homeschooled, which means I have a lot of free time to explore and research topics on my own. This freedom is great for creative ideas to grow and root themselves. My brother is a great musician, and his work inspires me to paint more--I might hear a mood through his playing, and then I'll  use it for idea-generating. I was also very fond of building fantastical worlds in my childhood, with my own characters, places, rules, etc. I revisit these worlds on occasion and use them as inspiration when I have nothing else of interest to use as subject matter.

Tell us about your creative process, from the beginning of a typical piece to its completion. Typically, I’ll have a scrap of thought in my head--a note in a song, an odd color, a curious design, or a character--and then tinker with it on paper. I’ll make a couple of small sketches, create texture, and lay down color; fooling around with it until I know what I want. I’ll flesh out the picture’s composition on another sheet, to edit and readjust. I use this as the ‘blueprint’ for the main work. Then, I’ll take a canvas or paper and carve out a form. After that, color is added. Each step is like a filter; the idea rehashes itself, over and over, to completion. Sometimes, the picture looks completely different from what I had in mind originally.

What plans do you have for the future direction of your art? In the future, I’m hoping to perfect my craft and technique in the various mediums mentioned above, especially pencil. I would like to delve more closely into graffiti-style art, as well as fantasy art--the design and brilliant color of those genres intrigue me. I enjoy learning about fiction illustrators and their pieces, and am working towards becoming a graphic designer or illustrator myself.