We had the good fortune of connecting with Hannah Brown and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Hannah, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
Why did I choose an artistic career? Well, part of me feels that I didn’t have much of a choice. Not in the way that I felt pressured to, but almost in a way that it chose me – destiny if you will.
I grew up with a creative and artistic mother who instead of buying my sisters and I coloring books, encouraged us to make our own. She would play fun games with us by drawing a squiggle on paper and we would have to create a drawing out of the shape. Or we would sit and draw each other without looking down at the paper or lifting our pens – this makes for some really interesting drawings – you should try it!
As I got older, I started to recognize that any type of art class easily kept my attention. While in other classes, I found myself daydreaming and pages of notes would be covered with doodles by the end of class. I distinctly remember in high school going out with friends on the weekends but excited to go home so I could paint or use my colored wire and leather to make jewelry into the wee hours of the night – yes, I was super cool.
It was clear. Art was my passion and I was pretty good at it. This acknowledgment and the support of my parents gave me the courage to go after an artistic career. As I entered college, I was wide eyed with excitement and had a clear path for myself to become an interior designer only to be devastated and heart broken when I found out I did not make it into the program. My life was over. There was nothing else I wanted to do – or so I thought. Once I started exploring all the other art classes, my world opened up with possibilities and my “failure” became a “whew, thank goodness that happened” because I realized what really made me tick. I loved working with my hands and creating. I was an artist! Which, by the way, that last sentence took me a long time to be able say out loud and still does sometimes to this day.
My husband and I are expecting our first baby this Summer and we are listening to an audio book “How to Raise an Adult.” It points out that many children that become successful adults are given the opportunity and freedom to truly find out what interests them – not what interests their parents. I one hundred percent believe that if you are interested in something, you will work harder and have a higher chance of success. I am so very thankful I grew up with supportive parents that let their children discover their own paths.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
As I stepped into the world of painting, I was a little apprehensive and overwhelmed at first. I knew I wanted to merge my background of being a jeweler with my love of nature to create dramatic and captivating paintings but I only had a couple preliminary acrylic painting classes from college under my belt. I was determined to teach myself how to oil paint. I have spent countless hours reading, watching videos and simply just practicing to get to where I am today and I am excited to continue to grow and learn as an artist!
I love to explore anything that contradicts itself: nature and expensive diamonds; serious and playful; ugly and pretty. I use off-balance encounters, such as these in my paintings, to create something unexpected and slightly awkward, yet beautiful all at the same time.
This is representative in my crow series, where I use the famously known “hood rat” of birds — the crow (or raven) – intermingled with high-end, glitzy diamonds and gems.
I am excited to be wrapping up my Crow Series and to be exploring new ideas that involve the same concept.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’m not going to lie – this question is a little hard for me since Covid – I feel a little disconnected from what’s new and cool in Dallas and the simple fact that I just haven’t been venturing out like I use to. That being said, I do have some all time favorites around town that to me are Dallas staples.
– The Arboretum in the spring or fall is so relaxing. It’s the perfect place to set up a picnic and enjoy nature and the views.
– My mom and I love going on home tours. Over the years the Lakewood home tour has become one our favorites with inspiring architecture and designs!
– I love jumping down to Bishop Arts to shop, eat, and drink an afternoon away. I am impressed with how much this area has grown while still keeping their eclectic vibe.
– It wouldn’t be right not to include some artwork on this list! The Dragon Street Wine Walk is a favorite of mine to explore new artists and artwork.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There are several people throughout my journey that have been significant players to helping me succeed and get to where I am today. First and foremost would be my family. Like I mentioned earlier, my parents have always supported my dream of an artistic career with enthusiastic encouragement. I also have an older sister, Maggie, who is extremely creative and has such an artistic eye for design. She was a very inspiring person to have around as I grew up.
Another person that deserves a shoutout would be my metalsmithing professor Haley Bates at Colorado State University. She is such a wonderful hands on professor that really took the extra time to work me. It is through her I learned the foundations of metalsmithing, intricate attention to details, and the skill set to launch me into an eleven year career as a custom fine jeweler.
And lastly, now that I have pivoted into painting, my husband Stephen Brown deserves a shoutout as well. He is continually supportive and patient as I navigate this new artistic direction.
Simply put, I would not be where I am today without these key people and many others – Thank you for the support, education, and inspiration.