Briefly describe the work you do.
My work often combines delicate cut paper with relief and photographic processes. I work on translucent Japanese paper that accentuates the fragility of the work. Recurring themes revolve around my interest in landscape, grief, and surface.
My most recent body of work deals with two different spaces. One is the indoor domestic setting which is defined through a series of objects. The other is this completely overgrown outdoor space which is defined through surface. I have been making a series of non-functioning household objects out of delicate cut paper and then printing wild overgrown plants onto their surfaces. The household objects serve to describe a real space in a fragile, ephemeral way while the surfaces describe a chaotic emotional state.
Tell us about your background and how that has had an influence on your work and on you as an artist.
As a child, I spent a lot of time camping with my family lending me an appreciation of the outdoors.
My background in Zen Buddhism and my deep love of asian art has influenced my work most.
The concept of the artist studio has a broad range of meanings in contemporary practice. Artists may spend much of their time in the actual studio, or they may spend very little time in it. Tell us about your individual studio practice and how it differs from or is the same as traditional notions of “being in the studio.”
My studio practice is split between a shared printmaking studio and a quiet individual studio space. The quiet space is where I spend the majority of my time: drawing, carving, and thinking. It tends to be a clean space while the shared space is energetic and inky. For me, the shared studio energy is essential to expressing my creativity and being part of the artist community.
What roles do you find yourself playing that you may not have envisioned yourself in when you first started making art?
I had no idea how much time I would spend framing, shipping, and photographing my work. The reality of what it means to exist as a professional artist involves a huge amount of behind the scenes work.
When do you find is the best time to make art? Do you set aside a specific time everyday or do you have to work whenever time allows?
Ideally, I would be able to work in the studio every day, but I often have to fit studio time around other responsibilities. I like to block out at least 4 hour intervals so that I can really get into the process. I have admiration for artists who can make use of every small interval of time during an otherwise hectic day.
How has your work changed in the past five years? How is it the same?
My interest in landscape has been consistent for many years, but I feel that the emotional tenor of my work has changed considerably. It has become far moodier and layered in meaning.
How have people such as family, friends, writers, philosophers, other artists or even pop icons had an impact on the work you do?
The artists I have worked with personally have had the most impact on me. Even if they make work that is very different than my own, seeing how they plan their work and exist in the studio inspire me. My mother is an artist as well and has been a profound supporter of my artwork from the moment I started making art.
Have you ever been pulled in the direction of a pursuit other than being an artist? What are your other interests?
I love novels! If I hadn’t discovered the printing press, I think I would have gone into creative writing and would have written a magic realist novel.
Hannah Skoonberg recently received her MFA from the University of Tennessee and is represented by Blue Spiral 1 Gallery in Asheville, NC. Hannah has been enthusiastically making prints for the last decade. She is an itinerant professor at Western Kentucky University and has been moving northward one state at a time.
All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission.