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Meet Hadley Queen

Today we’d like to introduce you to Hadley Queen.

Hadley, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I’m currently in my fifth term at ArtCenter College of Design. I’m majoring in illustration and I plan on doing freelance editorial work and opening my own shop. Being at ArtCenter and being around so many cool people has exposed me to new ways of thinking and new ways of making things. I’ve recently learned how important it is to think about what I’m making, why I’m making it, and the effects it will have in the world.

Growing up, my parents took me to a lot of art museums. I lived in Pennsylvania until I was eight, so we would go to the Philadelphia Museum of Art often. My favorite painting was Vincent Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, and I would redraw it in my sketchbook every visit. For as long as I can remember, drawing has felt like the only thing I’m good at. I don’t really know how or when I started to love art so much; it’s always just been what I do. I kind of feel like I proclaimed in my head that art is my thing, and I stuck with it and that’s how I got where I am today.

My mom owned a yarn store for almost twenty years while I was growing up so doing freelance, something entrepreneurial, or fraying from a traditional career path wasn’t something that ever worried me. In middle school, I really wanted to be a fashion designer, but once I started high school I got pretty obsessed with my art class which involved drawing and painting. By my sophomore year of high school, I knew I wanted to go to art school and after some consideration, illustration seemed to be the natural choice to major in.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It’s been a pretty smooth road because I’ve been lucky to have supportive parents who’ve encouraged me from a young age (and continue to encourage me) to create and do what I love. The biggest thing I’ve struggled with over the years has been self-doubt and comparing myself to others. This is something I still struggle with because it’s easy to look at other people’s work and assume it came naturally to them. As a viewer, we usually just see the finished product and not the hours or the number of “failed” pieces it may have taken to get to that finished thing. The self-doubt that comes from comparing myself to others can make it hard to start new projects and can prevent me from going out of my comfort zone for fear of failure. I’m still working on overcoming that fear, but I push past these feelings and create again when I just can’t go any longer without making something.

Please tell us more about your art.
I’ve been really into cars for a while. I’ve made a good amount of paper car cut-outs which helped me experiment with different mediums and application techniques. I tend to focus on a topic and stick with it until I’ve kind of exhausted it. This process allows me to visually push my concepts and invent different ways of approaching the subject matter. Experimenting with new mediums/ways of making something is one of my favorite things to do. I’ve recently been getting into 3D projects or craft projects like latch hook and polymer clay. In the near future, I hope to try ceramics, weaving and further push my storytelling abilities.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
I wouldn’t say this is my favorite childhood memory as it’s pretty embarrassing now, but it’s an art-related memory, so I’ll share it. After my family and I moved to California, my parents took me to SFMOMA. I was so excited to explore a completely new museum; I had my sketchbook and pencils ready to draw some Van Gogh’s or Impressionist paintings. Instead, I remember climbing the staircase and seeing modern paintings on every floor. My mom says I stomped out saying, “this place stinks!” And I was so disappointed that I ran out of the museum crying. Luckily, since my first encounter with SFMOMA and modern art, I’ve grown to love them both.

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