JS: When did you become an artist?
VH: I decided to become an artist when I was 14.
VH: That is always in flux as I am always learning…but a few who come to mind tonight are Kiki Smith, a dear friend, whose bravery and vision I have always admired. When I went to art school in California there were very few women teaching in the schools. I believe I only had one teacher who was a woman and that was in graduate school: it was Joan Brown at Berkeley and she was wonderfully supportive and fierce. At that time I also saw a performance by Joan Jonas and started looking at the work of Eva Hesse, Louise Bourgeois and Nancy Spero. My children are my greatest collaborators: allowing to me draw them, cast them and photograph them endlessly for my work. And my mother, who always gave me her gentle support.
JS:when i see your work, it reminds me of asia and Buddhism. do you have an interest in Buddhism?
VH: I have always been fascinated with Asian art and spend much of my time looking at it. I learn so much from the exhibitions at the Asia Society in New York City where I‘ve seen wonderful shows: everything from ancient art to contemporary art from Asia as well as the Middle East. Many times it resonates with my ideas of gesture and essence in my work. I have also made large-scale works with inner city public school children through A Studio in a School. Wonderful collaborations with Nancy Blume, the head of the Education Department at The Asia Society, that were then exhibited in the galleries at the museum. I think you can see some of the pieces on their website. Ultimately, I hope to visit India.
VH: I have become more intense and focused in my practice. My work has also become larger and more multifaceted. It has become very engrained in everything I do, as I have always been a very visual person.
CLICK HERE for the rest of Jeana’s interview with Valerie Hammond after the jump!
JS: Do you usually sit with pieces for a while?
VH: I work on many pieces at the same time. I like to be surrounded by my work while the pieces speak to each other and inform each other. I always think my work unfolds and evolves from one piece to the next.
VH: I try to work everyday. I think that’s why it’s important to be surrounded by my work as is always available and ready for further work. When I am not teaching I can work in my studio for 8-12 hour periods of time listening to books on tape and NPR.
JS: do you ever get “writer’s block” as an artist? if so, what do you do to break through the creative blockage.
VH: I don’t think I have ever had “writers block”. For me, I never seem to have enough time to work even though there here are moments of frustration and fear. But I’ve learned to work through them and push them aside and move on to something else. I can always revisit them, or not. I am happiest when I am working and engrossed in my work. I like the physicality of making art as the process itself, is meditative for me. This week I worked on some very detailed drawings and then spent a day with my children and friends making prints on the back lawn. I worked on large pieces for the black veil wall drawing while my daughter printed her own fantastic large woodblocks. I like being able to move around in my work and where I work.
VH: Scheming against my husband to have more time in my studio, looking and collecting ideas to make art and swimming.
JS: What’s your next project?
VH: A photo series related to spirit photography and fairytales. An exhibition on October 15 at Carrie Haddad Gallery in Hudson New York. Glass sculptures
i had so much fun posting here this week and i hope you enjoyed. you can always find me on my blog. thank you, design sponge!