Valerie Hammond

by Grace Bonney

valerie hammond is one of my favorite artists and she gave me so much inspiration. many thanks to valerie for spending her time on this interview and sending me the gorgeous images.

JS: When did you become an artist?

VH: I decided to become an artist when I was 14.

JS:what/who are your greatest influences?

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.

JS: how has your work and your approach changed over the course of your art career?

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.

JS: can you describe your habit? i.e. how many hours a day do you work? do you keep regular studio hours? do you work everyday?

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.

JS: What other interests do you have outside of creating art?

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

thanks again, valerie!

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!

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  • Beautiful work! I am interested in seeing the results of the photo series as I just did that project at my school (a nice little photography school in Mexico City) and I used as my subject a mythical type bird. One thing I’ve noticed is how much d*s has had an influence on me as far as how I want to design the production for my photographs and that has been great. I haven’t been so excited about photographs in a while. And Valerie’s work, no doubt, is going to be another influence on me. I especially love the pieces having to do with hands, they definitely reminded me of the hands and the tyles that you can find in a small market in Istanbul right behind and down some stairs from the Blue Mosque. Again, beautiful.

  • The Carrie Haddad Gallery, 622 Warren Street Hudson NY 12534 will be showing Valerie’s work October 15th-November 22nd! The reception is Saturday October 17th 6-8pm come and see her and her work

  • Valerie, to have a glimpse of your exquisite, current work is wonderful.

    I share my life daily with one of your very early box pieces that celebrates womanhood, motherhood and creativity. That you have continued, unstopped, teaching, creating and mothering is inspirational. I can’t wait to be in person with this new work.
    Thanks .

  • Valerie was my printmaking teacher in Lacoste, France so I have been privileged to watch her work up close, and to see her art evolve over time. Her images and her self are so entwined—sensitive, poetic, profoundly respectful of memory and the past yet also fresh and contemporary. It is always a joy to encounter her pictures and to feel the deep authenticity with which she follows her artistic vision.

  • I have a water color by Valerie in my office that I love. I purchased it at auction from a major company in downtown chicago that was going out of business. I do not know anything about the piece, name, year painted etc. Is there some way I can find out about it?

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