Hannah Currey is a final year American Studies student who grew up in Camden, North London but has fallen in love with Brighton since moving here in her first year. She has always had an interest in art and creativity and has been drawing for years. This year Hannah decided to set up her own instagram to showcase her work. She says “it’s been really exciting to see what everyone thinks!”
How would you describe your personal style of illustration? What is your creative process?
I would say that it’s funky! I like creating little characters that have lots of personality, and stand-out features that make each picture a little bit different, but so that you can clearly see that it is definitely me who has drawn the image. My pictures are definitely not true to life, but that’s what I love about drawing, being able to take inspiration from life but adding your own bit of imagination and fabrication. Before I start a picture, I usually just think of things that are interesting me at that moment, look at some photos or pictures and take the plunge!
Did your year abroad in Texas inspire your art? And generally, studying American studies, how does American culture play a part in your work?
Definitely! I did lots of illustration on my year abroad as a kind of diary of my time in the states, and I still take lots of inspiration from my time abroad in creating my images. Austin, which is where I studied, is full of street art and some beautiful scenery, so it really contributed to my enthusiasm for art and illustration. I traveled around a bit too, which you will see in my work, as I often resort back to these memories to create nostalgic illustrations that form a bit of a snapshot into this time. I also find that my interest in my subject inspires a lot of my work, particularly amazing American women who I come across in my degree, such as Angela Davis and bell hooks etc.
Are there any particular artists that inspire your work?
So many! In the last year, I’ve found amazing artists on Instagram but I’ve always loved Picasso’s line drawings, they’re so full of character. Emory Douglass’ work is beautiful, and I love that they capture a really important time in American history. I am also interested in photography, Diane Arbus, William Klein (lots of American photographers that capture urban, city life,) they’re great, and I love looking at their pictures and the characters that they find, which in a way inspires me to create similarly eccentric people in my drawings.
Are the characters featured in your illustrations based on people you know or are they from your imagination?
Some of them are! A lot are just friends and family, but then most of them are just people from my brain! I usually draw people I know for birthday cards and gifts etc. I also occasionally illustrate famous people I admire, like Solange and Eva Chen, because their styles are so funky, but mostly it’ll be made up characters. Sometimes I see people on the street or on the bus and think that they look particularly fun to draw and then come home and see if I can replicate their look.
Your work seems to range from being politically charged to being fun in equal balance while commenting on modern society. Would you agree? Do you want your work to carry meaning?
I would agree! I try and keep things lightweight and fun as I don’t want my work to be preachy or overbearing but sometimes I can’t help myself. I love drawing women, and I would love it if my work made women feel empowered and appreciated. I also do think it is important to use drawing as a form of expression, so if I feel inspired to create a particularly politically charged illustration, I will!
Finally, do you have any future plans regarding your artwork?
I would love to graduate and find a job that allows me to continue to illustrate or to do something creative! I just love doing it, and if it doesn’t go anywhere, that’s fine but if it does, that’s even better. I’d just like to keep drawing and keep improving and the ultimate dream would be to write and illustrate my own children’s book… but who knows… watch this space!
Instagram: @hrc_illustrations Words: Louisa Hunt