BEARS SHARES | Q + A | HANNAH WHITEMAN
Hammersmith and Fulham Arts Fest is coming up and to celebrate we have teamed up with local artist and designer Hannah Whiteman who will paint an installation on our window.
Hanna is a force of nature and runs a creative art Studio Hache down the road along with raising two lovely children.
We decided to find out more about her, her studio, inspirations and ambitions for her creative journey.
When did you decide that you wanted to become an artist and designer?
I think since that big long-legged robin I painted at nursery, I knew I enjoyed visually interpreting the world around me, I went on to spend many hours after high school and college, figuring out what medium I most enjoyed and pouring myself into anything I could produce from my own hands.
What is your favorite medium?
I think it has to be at the moment chalk paints and pens as they are so direct, matt and versatile, you can literally use them on any material! glass (it wipes off), wood, metal, fabric...so you can imagine the limitless sensation they give. The Posca Pens I use are so good for kids to draw and write on windows at home, a window is a transparent canvas! I also love working with wet, rich colored inks and working over them once dry with thick pencils. My personal practice is generally 2D although I teach 3D Arts too at Studio Hache.
What do you do for inspiration?
I try to keep hyper-aware of what is around me, and take inspiration mostly from anything growing (I seek it out on wallflowers, weeds, and parks here in London) and also love textures I find in our urban landscape, whether if it peeling paint, cracked plaster or painted chipboard. I think this is how we stay present and real, by observing where we are and what surrounds us. My inspiration for the window installation at Bears (2nd June 12-2pm) is the beautiful 19th century carved flowers in the rick houses by the river Hammersmith and in the local area. Delicate and bold at the same time, they were the actually the builder's signatures! Fancy that!
Your Studio Hache is based in The Old Laundry Yard. Tell us a little about the work you do there?
Studio Hache is now a year old! It's a small community Studio in the heart of Shepherds Bush market, within the BioDesign platform OpenCell London ( https://www.opencell.bio/ ). I set it up after finding the lack of free and open spaces to develop art and design workshops for the whole local community in Shepherds Bush and North Hammersmith. Couldn't find one so I made one! After received my first grant from the Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham council, I went on to receive more from Young Hammersmith and Fulham foundation, Sulgrave and Hammersmith United Charities.
The later has funded 6 months of a project working with the Refugee Association; West London Welcome which has been a success with many happy fun, messy memories.
I also run the creative program at MENCAP Hammersmith and Sulgrave Youth Club and at the Glue Programme at the Tabernacle in Notting Hill, so the studio is exploring the borough.
Where does the name Studio Hache come from?
Guess who!? H is Me. Well, it was the funny nickname that the brilliant Art technician at my college Long Road sixth form Centre in Cambridge, gave me. I was a loud character who was always asking for extra help and old demands :) So he called me Big Hache. Hache is for H which is for Hanna. I wanted to leave my mark on what I do and hopefully, be remembered for bringing people together and allowing the arts to be both fully accessible and diverse.
You have two lovely children. How do you juggle running a busy design studio with motherhood?
It's madness of course like life for most mothers! But it really is a wonderful contribution to their lives, my 2 kids both attend regular workshops and have met children from across the borough and from many different schools and backgrounds. Isolation for mothers is so common, so working with local families is such a pleasure.
I also work in a shop elsewhere so am often going on my bike/tube with bags of poster paints or rollers :). I think I might need a cargo bike!
What is next for you and your studio?
We are currently waiting on more grants, one is super exciting! I hope to explore biodesign and biomaterials with the children and in collaboration with Bubble and Squeak ( https://www.bubblesqueakeat.com/press-release ) and Open Cell London. I hope to have weekly workshops until the Summer holidays.
Join us for a live painting window installation on the 2nd of June 12:00-15:00 at Bears Ice Cream Company, 244 Goldhawk Road, W12 9PE.