Press / Our Art Site

Moira Hahn Interview
Written by Zach
Friday, 16 November 2007

Already booked for 2009, California artist Moira Hahn recently talks with Our Art Site about her unique style and its interesting origins. We are glad we were able to catch up with her, and so will you.

How is the art scene in California treating you?

It's been great, thanks. I have more than enough shows lined up and frequently receive show requests.

I love the Asian influence with your work, and need to know how you developed such a style for yourself.

My dad was stationed in China and India when he was in the military. A friend of his was on duty in Japan. Both of them sent Asian art, crafts and folk toys back to my family. Thus I was mesmerized by Asian art from early childhood. The advent of a few Japanese cartoon series on US tv undoubtedly cemented the inclination.

Is it safe to say that you use the colors as a voice for you to speak to your audience?

Sure, color, line, pattern and composition...all speak to and for me.

Outside of your art, where do you find yourself?

I have two other jobs at the moment. I teach art at a small college in Southern California and chair it's art department. Between my art and those gigs I don't have a lot of spare time, but enjoy swimming, reading, hiking, astronomy, my garden, Asian antiques, looking at other people's art and hanging out in the desert with my husband and dog.

Why the use of kittens and other animals in your works, opposed to more human objects for your audience?

That series started from real life, observing interactions between neighborhood cats and wild birds in our backyard. There's a very long history of artists substituting critters for humans in parables and parodies, in every culture, as you know, so it wasn't entirely original on my part!

Fill us in on your two shows this past year and how they were - one in LA and one in Seattle.

Those two-artist shows were a couple years ago, now, they went well. I'll be showing again with both galleries within a year or so, and have been in group shows at both since. We met lots of cool artists, including Kirsten Anderson, Yumiko Kayukawa, Laura Lasworth and Charles Krafft, and had a great visit in Seattle, a favorite city I hadn't traveled to for about ten years.

What artists are you watching closely?

Recently I enjoy the work of Hilary Brace, Henry Darger, Daniel Du Plessis, Jason Eoff, Joe Gibson (art name 'Jophen Stein'), Tim Hawkinson, Laurie Hogin, Tom Knechtel, Ira Korman, Betsy Lohrer Hall, Kristian Olson, Howie Tsui and Thomas Woodruff among many others. The list changes daily.

Your work spans several themes and surroundings. Where do you come up with an idea for a piece?

It usually evolves over weeks, months or years. Sometimes it's subconscious or based on information I've internalized and forgotten the source of.

You've already planned an exhibition for 2008 and 2009 - how busy do you think you'll be in the upcoming years with your work?

I'm certain I'll be busy. Making art, in my case, doesn't depend on outside forces. I'm compelled to express myself. If it should stop selling, I may eventually become like Henry Darger (the Outsider artist, subject of the documentary "In the Realms of the Unreal") or any other octogenarian living like a gerbil in a home stuffed with journals and other scraps of paper/Tyvek/canvas.

Shout outs, yells, hollers?

Howdy to Nikholis Planck, my lj (livejournal) pal in Maryland (from whom I found out about Our Art Site).