Meet Artist—Hannah Arp

Talk about yourself—Who are you? Where are you located?

My name is Hannah Arp. I currently reside in Seattle, WA but have lived in San Diego, San Francisco, Colorado Springs, Portland, Oregon, and London, UK. 

I’ve been an artist for some time now. Though I’ve only felt comfortable labeling myself as an artist when my niece told her family “Hannah doesn’t work at Starbucks. She’s an artist!” and that was maybe 4 years ago. I just thought well if this 3-year-old (at the time) believes it, why can’t I? I’ve been creating artwork since I was a child. But having a pretty stereotypical Asian mom, that was really frowned upon and my parents really tried to suppress my love of art. I studied Journalism in the UK which I hated so I secretly changed my major to Art and my parents found out and were not exactly happy about it. They also found out I was doing some other stuff that didn’t match well with their religion, but that’s a story for another time. haha. They pulled my university funds and I moved back to the states. From then on, I promised myself that I’d focus on art because that was the only thing that made me happy. So that’s what I’m doing now, creating art work that makes me happy even though it doesn’t make everyone happy. It’s what I need to do to feel the most like I’m alive.

What is your primary art theme? What inspires it?

There are a many number of things that inspire me. Some reoccurring inspirations are osteology, anatomy, sad naked people, and travel. I love all things horror and spooky. Though lately I have been really inspired by my heritage, being Asian American. With everything going on in the world, all the hate against the AAPI community, I’ve felt like I need to speak up for my people. What better way than through art?

What medium do you primarily use and what do you like about it?

My one true love is black ink. I use just a bottle of India Ink and a paintbrush. I love that it’s easy to layer and you can get a matte black. I’ve been doing a lot of water color and gouache too. I love those for the same reasons and they’re both really malleable. 

What artists do you follow?

I follow a lot of artists but some of my favorites:

@ordinarilyextraletters on Instagram- She’s one of my dear friends. She does a lot of sloth comics and hand lettering that is just so aesthetically pleasing.

@justinecrawfart on Instagram- I am in love with her. I wish we would be bffs. I love her work so much. It’s so simple, delicate and beautiful. She’s based in Canada and is a tattoo artist as well as an illustrator.

@thecreepingmoon is a local Seattle artist. I just bought a tarot deck from her and it’s honestly one of the most beautiful things I’ve purchased in a looong time.

What artist influences you?

Eek this is a hard one for me because I feel like I pull influences from everywhere…

Aubrey Beardsley is probably my number one inspiration. I love the thin to thick black line his work portrays. I also love his “Adult NSFW” stuff. It’s just super silly and outlandish. I do a lot of nude drawings but I don’t post much of it because of the new Instagram restrictions.

A new one I discovered recently is Kristian Andrews with Studio AKA. I saw this scene from Giri/Haji that is illustrated and was like, “Damn, who illustrated this?” and it was this amazing human named Kristian Andrews! Their work is really amazing mostly really dark shit (is that word allowed?).

Can you show me your favorite piece you have ever done?

Hm, This is my favorite recent piece; 

and if you need a child friendly favorite;

What started your love for art?

When I was little, I was digging through my dad’s desk and found all these cool drawings. They made me want to draw and I saw that I was really good at it. They ended up being my dad’s drawings! I had no idea that he was also an artist, he never talked about it. He doodled at work ALL the time. There were hundreds of drawings and most would go in the trash. I’d find them in his desk all the time. Later in life I talked to him about it and found out he had secret talents; drawing & sculpting and I was like wtf why do you suppress my love of art, dude?

If you were to try a new medium or style, what would you do?

I’ve tried pretty much everything. I really want to get into oil painting more but I don’t think I have the patience. I just love how rich oil paintings look.

I also want to join a pottery studio once this pandemic lets up and get back to sculpture (I haven’t done this since high school).

What setting do you have to be in to create?

I like it loud (white noise or music). A lot of the time I’ll light a selenite candle to clear the room of bad energies. I cannot have any negative energy in the room. If there is any bit of negative energy, I ALWAYS end up hating my work.

Have you ever had a piece go terribly but were able to redeem it/turn it around some how?

Yes, I mended it by throwing it away haha.

If you’ve done art jobs before, what was your favorite project

There are two favorites;

I designed and tattooed this piece that was “As above, so below” themed and that’s all the client gave me. I could make whatever I wanted. I was really happy with it and so were they. Those are the best kinds of clients.

I also illustrated a few pieces for an article about how the media has affected how we, as humans, love each other. It was an amazing article. I had full creative reign and it was really fun.

I honestly cannot work an artistic job unless I have full creative reign. Most creative jobs that I’ve had, I hated. I hate production work. That’s not why I create art. That’s why I’ve had such a hard time making money through my art. I don’t want to create someone else’s idea of art nor do I want them to abuse my talent.

You can find Hannah and her artwork on Instagram