Do you know LA-Based artist Hannah Stouffer? How about GrandArray? Well, if you’re reading this blog, chances are, you do. But if you think you don’t, think again. Look around. Check your bookmarks. Look under the bed.
When I stumbled on Hannah’s site via Twitter a few weeks back, I became instantly enamored with her work. And the first thing I thought? ”Why haven’t I seen this before?” Well…I had seen it before. Sitting on a side table in my living room was an issue of XLR8R with a big fat Hannah Stouffer interview (that I’d already read).
So my point is, Hannah’s paintings and illustrations are hard to miss — they’re incredible. Her work is often contrary within itself as she masterfully pits themes and elements against each other for amazing results: femininity and hard darkness, the natural world and monster trucks, massively congested canvases and simple, natural forms, dreamy color palettes and predatory animals. If you’re into that sorta thing (the incredible sorta thing), you probably already know her work. And if you don’t, seriously, you actually might. She’s done work for some pretty high-profile clients. From Levi’s to American Express, Nike to Ludacris, and on and on. She has her own clothing line, GrandArray, and she’s constantly showing in galleries.
Hannah was kind enough to take a few minutes out of her demanding schedule to answer a few questions for OK Great. What follows is one of the weirder interviews we’ve done….Enjoy!
So, you mentioned in one of our emails that for your new show (Animal Sex) your mom gave you a box full of bird pelts and your dad gave you claws and jowls. Why do your parents have so many animal remains on hand?
My father is Wild America. All of it. He is an avid naturalist and wildlife cinematographer, and my moms is kind of a moder-day hippy. I was just at home with them in Colorado and inherited this box full of gorgeous feathers, pheasant pelts and leather tools that she used to make accessories from. My childhood home is a cross between a taxidermy museum and all imagery that goes along with drinking fireside champagne in a log cabin in Aspen.
The snakes that appear in so many of your pieces are insanely intricate. Do you count toothpicks when you’re not drawing?
Yes. I do count the toothpicks. I’m constantly shredding them to bits of splinters with my teeth, then I count the splinters. I love getting lost in the obsessive repetition of snakeskin- and it has this funny childhood nostalgia to me, along with the majority of the animal kingdom. Snakes also tie into my consistent attraction to notions of lust and gore-which I am continuously drawn to.
You’re a West Coaster to the core and I think sometimes that shows through in your paintings. That being said, even the art set needs it’s Biggie & Tupac. So, is there an East Coast artist that you want to call out? We can get this popping.
Aaaaaaaaaaw Daaaaaaanggggg!!! Bopbop bop!! Click-clack click clack!!! Brrrrrrraaaat Brrrrrrraaaaaaat!! Bombaclot Bombaclot-Hollllllllllla!!! Shoooot….I love all my east siders-fo life.
To finish up, I’m going to ask a series of short questions. Please answer them in song lyrics.
Are you sure you’re ready for that?
What inspires you to draw and paint?
When there’s lightning / You know it always brings me down / Cause it’s free and I see that it’s me / Who’s lost and never found / I cry out for magic / I feel it dancing in the light / It was cold, lost my hold / To the shadows of the night / No sign of the morning coming / You’ve been left on your own / Like a Rainbow in the dark / A rainbow in the dark.
How has living in Los Angeles affected your work?
To live and die in LA / where everyday we try to fatten our pockets / us hustlas hustle for the cash so it’s hard to knock it / everybody got they own thang, currency chasin’ / world wide through the hard times warrior faces / shed tears as we bury bustas close to the heart / what was a friend now a ghost in the dark / cold hearted ’bout it, busta got smoked by a fiend / tryin’ to floss on him / blind to a broken man’s dream.
What’s your typical day like?
Everyday I’m, every I’m, everyday I’m hustlin’ / Ev-ev-ev-everyday I’m hustlin’ / now I’m lookin’ through my CD collection / the last time it was right behind Confessions / I’m looking for the right cover, the names in red letters / can’t wait to pop it in my base and put our bodies together / I’m fitna stunt like my daddy up in here / girl you got my lips hangin’ off your ear / clean the CD, check for scratches / get up on my mattress / now we doin’ it, to Kelly’s 12 play /The Dream Kelly’s 12 play.
Did you always want to become an artist?
Welcome to my nightmare, I think you’re gonna like it, I think you’re gonna feel you belong / a nocturnal vacation, unnecessary sedation, you want to feel at home cause you belong / welcome to my nightmare whoa, ho ho ho / welcome to my breakdown / I hope I didn’t scare you / that’s just the way we are when we come down / we sweat and laugh and scream here / cause life is just a dream here / you know inside you feel right at home, here / yeah, welcome to my nightmare, yeah, hey, hey, hey….
If you could do something else, what would you do?
This is my song for real, no doubt / said the DJ’s making me feel thugged out / As I walk you to the dance floor / we begin to dance slow / put your arms around me / I’m feelin’ on your booty.
I hope y’all enjoyed the interview and if you like what you see, be sure to check back tomorrow for a Hannah Stouffer/GrandArray Giveaway! We’ll have multiple winners and a bunch of goodies from Hannah!