Interviewing Artist Series: Hannah Catanzaro
The interviewing artist series is dedicated to interviewing undergraduate Studio Art students at the University of Guelph in partnership with the Juried Art Show and Kaleidoscope Magazine.
The following interview features the artist Hannah Catanzaro with questions from Alexa Collette.
What is your process of creating art?
My process of creating a painting involves lots of research of imagery which typically I gather from Instagram or Facebook groups. I sometimes find images just from friends that have sent me these images or old YouTube videos, old TV shows, video games, cartoons etc. If I’m watching TV and I’m inspired by one of the image stills I’ll take a photo of it and then from there I choose photos that are paint worthy. Once I pick one of them to paint, I decide on the scale. Scale is very important to me and my work I like to work very large scale. This comes from the idea of making images larger than what we see on screens. I keep folders upon folders and so many piles of images in my room for reference when creating my work. I think that’s just something that stuck with me from first year studio was just collecting these images and thinking about them in ways that I can make them new.
Are there any particular artists or people in your life that inspire you? If so, please feel free to elaborate on your relationship to this person or their artwork?
The people in my life inspire me so much to create my artwork like without the support of my friends I don’t think I would be having the motivation to create or work during this time. It’s very difficult for me to be motivated and stay focused on a particular artwork but talking to my friends about it and sharing my work with them really inspires me to continue to create. They’re so supportive of me and I love making little drawings for them. My friends will even send me images are like suggest things for me to paint which really helps my artistic process.
Which art project are you most proud of?
I think the project that I’m most proud of in my practice is my piece called Untitled-Paint which is a painting of the old windows XP desktop with the Microsoft paint application open. It’s such a large scale and I haven’t painted anything to that much detail on that size scale since then... and I really wish I had the resources to do so again. But I don’t think any of my other artworks will ever be able to beat out this painting. I think I come back to it so often because it was just the first painting I made that inspired the subject matter that I paint today. It was the first work that involved digital media in relation to paint. I made it for my second painting class with Monica and I think about that class a lot and all the friends I’ve made and how motivated I was to keep painting. I would be in the studio all day every day. I would stay very late at night. I worked on the painting a lot and it was a big part of my life for a long time and then I finished it right before the pandemic started so that was the last painting I had made in the studio before we all had to return home. And that’s just something I think a lot about, but that painting is my prize possession, and I can’t imagine myself ever selling it and I am going to keep it with me in hopes that I will be able to display it one day at an exhibition. It has sentimental value. The friends I made in the class really helped me find the motivation to finish that painting. If it wasn’t for them, I don’t know if I would be in the studio as often as I had been. We really took advantage of the studio and would stay up until like one in the morning. We could go get coffees and just continue working; it was a really fun environment and I really miss it and that’s what that painting signifies to me. The time that we had.
How has your practice changed since working from your home?
My practice hasn’t changed very much since I’ve been working from home. I could still create similar paintings I would be able to at home as I would be in the studio. The only difference is that the canvas size has changed because of the lack of supplies currently available and the size of space in my home. For instance, larger canvases I find are usually sold out or hard to get to, especially with art stores being closed. I have to order medium-size canvases online as they don’t really sell very large canvases that they can deliver to your house. Also, stores always seem to be out of white paint which is difficult because I tend to use white a lot in my paintings to mix colours. But yeah, I just use the little makeshift studio that I’ve set up in my dining room area. The space is pretty small, but I make it work. I also think it’s really important to learn how to make art at home and practice making it outside of the school for after graduation. Like for example, I wouldn't have access to a studio space after graduation so it's good practice to be able to paint from home.
Untitled - Paint
Icky Paint-like Goop