Interview with Ellen Hanson

Could you give us a brief introduction to who you are and what kind of work you make?
I’m Ellen Hanson, I received my BA from Bennington College in 2014 and currently live in Chicago. I paint post-romantic architectural landscapes. 

Where do you gather most of the inspiration for your works?
Most of my inspiration comes from things I see on a daily basis: architecture, houseplants, landscaping etc. My mom kept stacks of interior decoration magazines in our basement, recently I took them all, went through them and cut out all the images that interested me. I categorized them in folders and keep them in my studio to use as source imagery.  

What is your most important artist tool? Is there something you can’t live without in your studio?
Currently, I couldn’t work without tape. In some paintings a almost go through an entire roll taping off sections to create crisp lines.

What do you feel are the recurring themes in your visual work?  
There are a few dichotomies that have become important themes in my work. These include: interior vs. exterior, natural vs. artificial, physical vs. illusion

Is there a particular artist you feel you relate to? Who are your role models (artists or non-artists)?
I have so many artist role models, some include Helen Frankenthaler, David Hockney, Sylvia Plimack Mangold and Kerry James Marshall. 

What is the best piece of artistic advice you’ve been given?
My first memorable piece of advice came from my high school painting teacher. He told us, “Don’t be afraid to make the next mark. If you painted it once, you can paint it again”.This helps to break down one of the fears in art making. I remind myself of this when I’m happy with a piece and become afraid to keep working with the concern that I’ll ruin it. If I don’t like what I did, I can always re-paint it.

Check out Ellen's work currently in our exhibition, Re Run