Photography by Ellie India Rose Carty
Interview by Esme Carty
I: With your art was there something that kickstarted it?
HV: With my work and regards to art, I had been doing it consistently or exposing myself to different types of work from when I was young. I was doing design in California but when I went back north [in Arizona], I had a teacher pull me aside and tell me, ‘Hey I don’t tell people this often but you should do painting.’ Interestingly enough two weeks later I participated in a group show and that kicked off the spark of ‘Oh shit this is something that I wanna keep pushing for, I wanna keep doing.’ And I just never looked back.
I: Is there something you draw from when creating pieces?
HV: I tend to gear my work towards emotion or what I am feeling at the time. If I can’t fully immerse myself then I don’t try to force it; my whole process is what I’m feeling and I let music be a guiding point for that.
I: Are there pieces where you look back and you're like, I know exactly how I was feeling based on the colours, the composition–
HV: Definitely! I actually had somebody come through one time at a show who looked at my work and was able to connect–they pulled me aside and went, ‘Hey! This is going to sound crazy but were you angry when you were painting this piece?’ I was like, ‘Yeah, how did you know that?’ They responded, ‘You can tell just by the colours and the thickness of the paint, and this section where you can tell you were heavy handed here.’ I was like ‘Woah, that’s trippy how did you know!’ A big thing I pride myself on is that I really do put my heart and spirit and soul into these pieces. That's a special thing, you know?
I: So would you say the most gratifying aspect of being an artist is when people recognize that or would you say when it's a more personal experience?
HV: I definitely think that it plays into both of those. It’s really rewarding and nice to know that people can appreciate or connect with where I’m at with my work. The integrity is there, I create work because it’s what I love to do; everything else aside, that’s the most important thing to me. That’s the only reason why I started and continue to paint, I feel like myself. It’s where I'm the freest for sure.
I: Working at Aftermarket with your work up on the walls, does it motivate you more?
HV: Oh one hundred percent. If it were not for the opportunities to continue to grow or my friends wanting to keep pushing one another, this acts as a facilitator for sure. I don’t run a typical 9-5, when I wake up I’m already stressing because I’m like, ‘Alright what’s on the agenda today? I’ll spend this amount of time working on these photos, these edits. I’ve got these commissions to do. I also want to experiment,’ I try to section everything off. This has got me working so much harder. It’s really woken me up to try and push a little further.
I: Being around other art pieces, do you look at other peoples’ art with your own eye, as in how you would do it? Or are you able to take yourself out of that?
HV: When I’m out looking at the work of other artists I try to dive in fully. In the same way I put my energy and spirit into my work, when I’m looking at other work I try to appreciate it as much as possible. You’ll see me staring at the stuff and trying to figure out the colour use, how they blended, how thick the paint is, the texture. Being around it has definitely helped me grow to connect with more artists, more people.
I: Touching on texture, you use a lot in your paintings. I completely love that.
HV: It has a great way of conveying a lot more than what’s just at the surface level. When you see the texture, it introduces a whole new layer of looking at work. Some of the pieces that I’ve enjoyed the most have the heaviest paint use, that’s why I love the Tom O’Connor piece. I was tripping out on the texture, it had me focusing on how I could better increase my texture use.
I: Is there a main inspiration for your art, does it fluctuate?
HV: Definitely, I mean right now I’ve been really into a lot of street art but blended with a modern and contemporary look. I’ve been focusing a lot on expanding flower themes but I find myself kind of moving more towards the graph world; it’s sick to me because it touches on my love for typography. You can combine that with what I’m doing now with the more painter-y aspect. That’s the big inspo right now, street culture.
I: I actually love that because your work is very abstract, so when you put in the typography, like your ‘Huf’ painting, it draws people in.
HV: I would love to do more work with type on it and words. Sometimes I start to overthink because I don’t want to reveal too much. If used correctly, putting words into pieces can be an introduction to the way you view a piece as a whole, or opens up a story–a narrative to the work. If I’m ever going to put words on a piece I’m going to be very mindful. In some of my more recent pieces, I put in the time that I finished the work: it’ll be like 11:33 or 11:44, this one was finished at 12:01. Or I’ll write, like I wrote ‘Romeo’ in one piece very small, so you have to stare at it to see it. I appreciate you noticing that and I’d love to keep doing it.
I: You mentioned off camera that there are some things you’re sitting on, are there pieces you’ve already created that you are set to release soon?
HV: Yeah, through a very beautiful collaboration that happened between me and Augusta, Andrew Augusta [Augusta Pots]. He does some ceramics for us [Bones Aftermarket]. He and I connected through this space. Gino was like, “Hey I have this Buddy [Kam] who does stuff in the skateboard realm, you should meet him!” I then met Kam [Kamden Storm], and came to find out there was an overlap in connection; I was interning at DC shoes while he was filming Jett and Jagger years ago, and I had sent some shoes to them. Anyway, the connection happened when he invited me over to the studio space he worked at with Augusta, which got me into ceramics and pushed me to cross over into a different realm. I’ve got some other collaborative things in the works as well. Also sitting on some work to showcase this year; that’s the big focus for this year because I haven’t done a solo in a while and that's the big goal right now.
I: Where can everyone find you?
HV: Most of my work I post on Instagram at @_loosebrain_, that’s my main way of connecting with people. I go visit places, I always pride myself in trying to touch base and connect that way. My website will be released this year, in around two months. Instagram and the socials is the best way to find me!