Twenty Someone: Hattie Pearson

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Hometown: Jonesboro, GA

College: University of Mississippi

Age: 21

Occupation: Student, BFA with a focus in painting

1. Describe your job in three words: Wait, my job? Are those your three words? (laughter) Well it’s exciting, fun, and different. It’s an experience. Which are your three? It’s an experience.

2. What was it like growing up with three sisters? It made me who I am today and I wouldn’t take back my childhood for anything. I think it’s really cool how I’ve grown up and gone off to college, but they still play a huge role in my life. They were the basis for my thesis show. They influence me when they’re with me and when they’re not with me. I always have them no matter what. They keep me…they keep me…who I am.

3. So your sisters were the basis of your thesis? Tell me about your thesis. My thesis was a group of paintings that all stemmed from growing up in a predominantly female family and having women around me all the time. It was about watching and seeing how there is something so special about a woman in a natural moment. In a natural pose. Kind of like a candid photograph. I wanted to focus on how this led me to think of myself as a woman and where I am in my life and how I’m getting ready to leave college and move on with the next chapter. It’s the unknown. I have these contradictory feelings where I am scared and excited, and these paintings allowed me to pause the moments and freeze this time with images. A big part of it are those contradicting feelings. Brave and scared. Secure and insecure. I wanted to show that through bold and muted colors. I used dominant female figures with ghost figures to show that this time in my life is fading away, but I’m also trying to stop it within the painting.

4. When did you first fall in love with the craft? I have always been a painter. My mother is a painter. She would let me play around with her stuff. When I was in sixth or seventh grade she let me go to an older level painting class on Saturdays taught by Eula Ginsburg. I was the youngest one in the class. The next youngest person I think was thirty-five. Even though I felt totally out of place, I loved to be in there painting the live models. It wasn’t weird. Basically I always knew I wanted to be a painter. The influence of my mom and her encouraging me to stick with it made it all happen.

5. Who is your favorite artist? That’s a hard question. It changes all the time. I guess someone that I’m looking at now is Caroline Youngblood. She has influenced me a lot. She does painting and mixed media. And then I always look to Modigliani and Egon Schiele for his figure drawings. Great. Wait, there’s one other who I’m obsessed with! Patricia Broderick. I really like her use of color and line.

6. What is your favorite class and professor? Robin, that’s easy. My advanced painting class. Especially because I ‘ve had the same painting professor throughout my college career, Philip Jackson. He has been very supportive of me and my artwork and has always encouraged me to push myself and to keep paining. He encouraged me to make it a priority in my life. He is very serious about teaching. Of course, he is also an artist so he relates to all of us. He talks about his life, and work, and galleries where he is showing. It’s all just very energizing.

7. Where is your favorite place to paint? In my mom’s studio, but when I’m at school I like to paint in my bedroom because I can be in my world and in my element. When I’m working on a painting and it’s by my bed, I can walk past it a million times and see things I might not see otherwise. I can make a change right then and there.

8. How would you describe your style? Artistic style and personal style. It’s a mix between drawing and painting and balancing bold and muted colors. I try to work between representational and non representational paintings and I do paint figures, but I try to leave ambiguity within the work. Personal style? I always try to keep things classy and simple, but I also allow things to stand out. Not overstated.

9. Any advice to future artists? Paint everyday. Stick with it. I think the only way you can grow as an artist is to surround yourself with inspiration and encouraging people. To look at inspiration everywhere in your life. In all aspects of your life. Don’t let anyone discourage you and if you think you’re onto something it will come out the way you want it.

10. In ten years you will be…hopefully having a show at an NYC gallery with Robin Beck writing about my work.

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