A month or so ago, I did an interview with Nathalie Sturgeon of the Brunswickan Newspaper. I was reading back over my answers to a couple of the questions that she asked me, and realized that I would like to share them here in my blog.
So here goes!
- NS: Tell me about yourself.
DH: I am a person who is engaged in living my daily life as a pattern of my beliefs. My socio-political markers are that: I am a woman, mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend, artist, Ph. D candidate, educator, and a feminist.
I would add, that I am a person who turns to making things to process the world around me. I make tokens – to give as gifts – as a way of processing/expressing my love, praise, care, my connection, my concern, and my grief.
- NS: What were some of your favourite aspects of being in Barcelona?
DH: My favourite things about being in Barcelona is hard to pin down. It would have to be, at least in part, as I wrote in the statement for my exhibition; I become a watercolorist when I travel. A methodology rather than an occupation; the practice of watercolour slows down the gulp-like aspect of seeing for me. I struggled to slow down –unsettled and fascinated in equal parts – to take in the sights, smells, sounds, and textures of each little area of Barcelona that I visited.
Travel is a privilege, and the best way I know to repay such opportunity is to see well. Conceding to each new situation by suspending judgement, and yielding to a commonality of human experience represents the choice. It is about welcoming curiosity, compassion, and friendship in the face of unfamiliar cultures, customs, and beliefs.
More generally about my time in Barcelona, I loved the street art, the architecture, its location on the Mediterranean, the sensuality of the Barcelona’s culture as a whole.
Photo by Danielle Hogan, ‘Correfoc’ (or fire-run) papier-mâché devil, from Festa de Gracia, Barcelona. August 2016.
Photo by Danielle Hogan, Street art from the Gothic district, Barcelona, Spain. August 2016.
- NS. What are some of the things that inspire your art?
DH. Affects, aesthetic texture, and memories inspire my work.
- NS. When you create a piece of art, how do you start?
Honestly, I never know for certain how, or when a piece begins.
- NS. Why do you like having your art displayed in fredericton?
DH: I am very proud to be associated with Gallery 78. The Patakis represent many talented artists – more than I could possibly list here – though I will say that I am extremely humbled to be recognized – by association – with the work of such brilliant artist as Molly Lamb Bobak, Brigid Toole-Grant, Brigitte Clavette and Ann Manuel, in addition to the work of younger artists including Stephanie Weirathmueller and Jessie Babin. Inge Pataki first took me on in my twenties- as an inexperienced artist – demonstrating her faith in me, and that had an extremely positive and lasting effect on me.
Additionally, my very favourite thing about exhibiting my work in Fredericton is that my two children and my partner, as well as my parents and friends can be with me to celebrate. That is so important because making art can be a lonely process at times..
- NS. What are some of your future goals?
DH: My future goals; that is a question, one which seem much more straight forward to answer when I was younger. I am 43 today, and then in my 20s living in Vancouver and attending art school, I would have simply said that my goal was to be a successful artist. Today I am less certain about exactly what that means for me – success- and even what it means to our society more generally. I wonder if “success” mean having money? And if so, what point along such that path of monetary acquisition might represents the achievement of said “success”.
Should my goal be Happiness? How could I ever know if I’ve achieved “enough” of such a fleeting thing to claim it? Feminist academic Sara Amed is someone who’s work I look to when considering challenging questions. And, on the topic of happiness she has written quite a lot;
Happiness as a positive emotion can suggest the warmth and ease of comfort, or the sharp intensities of joy. It can be a momentary feeling, like a bolt of lightning that interrupts the night sky, only to be gone again, or the calm slow sigh of reflecting on something that has gone well. Happiness can be the beginning or the end of a story. Happiness can be all these things, and in being all of them, risks being none. (The Promise of Happiness, 2010, p. 202)
Years ago, after finishing my master’s degree, I came across a quote by American author Joan Didion. I hadn’t yet read any of Didion’s work, and her outspoken politics and decisive identity as a woman – and as an author/artist – were yet unknown to me. However, the quote struck me deeply. It remained crudely taped to the wall of my Victoria studio until the day I move to New Brunswick. Perhaps it best sums up my future intentions [goals?], it reads;
I’m not telling you to make the world better, because I don’t think that progress is necessarily part of the package,” [Didio said.] “I’m just telling you to live in it. Not just to endure it, not just to suffer it, not just to pass through it, but to live in it. To look at it. To try to get the picture. To live recklessly. To take chances. To make your own work and take pride in it. To seize the moment. And if you ask me why you should bother to do that, I could tell you that the grave’s a fine and private place, but none I think do there embrace. Nor do they sing there, or write, or argue, or see the tidal bore on the Amazon, or touch their children. And that’s what there is to do and get it while you can and good luck at it. (Didion, 1975. Commencement address at the University of California, Riverside)
I do have a goal of wanting to be kind without holding onto the expectation that I need to be “nice”, or liked, by everyone. I want to be true to myself, and to those that I care about – now, and in the future.
And, I will need to get a paying job sooner or later – wink- !)
- NS. Anything else you would like to add?
The pain and violence of gender assimilation is something impacts EVERYONE’s life. Assumptions and expectations regarding gender are subjects which I know together, we can overcome much sooner, rather than later. Let’s get at it.
The author of this photo is unknown to me; it can be found many places on the internet. I found it here: https://africanfeminism.com/2016/06/09/social-construction-of-roles-a-brief-reflection-by-daniel-hailu/
Finally, I want to say thank you for showing an interest in my work, and for taking the time to ask me these questions.