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Interview With Hanna Barczyk

    Interview With Hanna Barczyk | Graphic Competitions
     Category:  Spotlights

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    I was born in south Germany to a Hungarian mother and a father of East Prussian descent. When I was thirteen years old, my mother brought me and my twin sister to Canada and we settled in Toronto where I attended high school and later studied at the Ontario College of Art and Design (now OCADU). After graduating with a bachelors in design, I worked many different jobs to make ends meet: as a body-double in film and television, as a waitress in restaurants, as an intern at the Walrus magazine and Fashion magazine. During this time, I never gave up on my passion for art. I painted murals and also worked with the Toronto artist Jose Ortega.

    In 2013, I decided to focus on illustration full-time. I quit all my previous jobs and started travelling between New York City and Toronto to begin an internship with Edel Rodriguez. I built up a portfolio of artwork, attended illustration events in New York City where I met art directors, and eventually started receiving commissions for editorial work. Two years later, I met my agent Ella Lupo at the Society of Illustrators and have been represented by Purple Rain Illustrators ever since. I am currently based in Brooklyn, NY.

    I’m inspired by the art of my heritage: Hungarian folk drawings and vintage matchbooks, twentieth-century Polish film posters, and the paintings of the German expressionists. I also take inspiration from music, culture, and contemporary art.

    My approach is to unite emotion with bold, graphic elements to solve creative problems. My work often reflects critical social issues like diversity, immigration, war, and women’s movements. My ambition is to reflect the human condition in all its variety and beauty in my art and communicate truth.

    What are you working on at the moment?

    I'm currently finishing a project with The New Yorker among other various editorial assignments.

    What does a typical working day look like?

    On a typical day I wake up around 7 am, and have an espresso and read the New York Times. I officially start working at 8:30 am. Before noon, I usually work on sketches, read assignments, and respond to e-mails. Usually around 1 pm, I realize I’m starving and I’ll have a quick lunch and spend my afternoons working on finishing illustrations. I tend to work till 7pm, then make dinner and try to catch a yoga class, dance, meet with friends or take care of other things. I often work on personal drawings/painting later in the evening.

    However, this all changes when I work on rush assignments, then I will ignore the schedule and focus on the assignment that has to be done for that same day.

    What tools do you use most for your work?

    My tools are regular computer paper and pencils of varying softness. All my ideas are ‘visual notes’ first: these are usually very rough sketches to record all the ideas I have on how to approach a piece. Once I have a pencil sketch finalized, I use a fountain pen and India ink to create a line drawing, which I then scan, add colors and texture digitally. I use Adobe Photoshop and a Wacom tablet.

    What skills have you learnt along the way?

    It’s important to keep a disciplined schedule and to view illustration as a business. Conceptually speaking, I have learnt the process of deducting an idea, to truly show that less is more.

    What advice would you give to a young creative?

    We all carry a narrative within us, and creatives have a story to tell and only they can discover how best to tell it. My advice would be to use your own story to share with the world, whether through visual art, writing/poetry, music or dance. It's in the process of having a deep desire to communicate, that you find yourself. This process takes time, patience, and commitment.

    Also: to be honest with oneself and curious. Also to always keep working, whether it is drawing in a sketchbook, making notes, reading, taking new classes, and being persistent in the journey of becoming who you can truly become.

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