Five Alive: Hannah Cole

We are excited to have painter Hannah Cole join us for our interview series Five Alive today.

Green Crates, acrylic on layered Tyvek, 40" x 60," 2015

Green Crates, acrylic on layered Tyvek, 40" x 60," 2015

Hannah is a painter living in Brooklyn. She studied at Yale University and Boston University, and  has exhibited internationally. She is represented by Slag Gallery in New York. Her work was shown recently at The Drawing Center and at Volta, Basel. Last year she had her third solo show in New York at Slag Gallery and her first solo museum show at the University of Maine Museum of Art. She is currently working on an upcoming show for this fall at Boston University’s Sherman Gallery.

Hannah Cole

Hannah Cole

About Hannah's work, in her words:

I paint the daily surroundings that normally go unnoticed—a glimpse of the bookshelf, the subway grate I walk over on my route to the bodega, my pliers hanging on a pegboard.

My paintings are at once rooted in the unique experiences of my own life in Brooklyn, and in conversation with the larger history of American painting. I make every mark by hand, without shortcuts. This practice is one part meditation, one part Yankee work ethic.

What is your favorite art making tool?

I’m using an exacto-knife a lot lately. I’ve been cutting patterns into canvas and Tyvek.I love creating a tension between loose, painterly painting and tight, precise cuts.

What music/band/artist are you listening to the most right now?

I’m an NPR freak, and a big podcast listener. I ate up Serial like candy. I love Planet Money and I get really excited when there’s a new Frontline audiocast. My favorite is The Harvard Business Review Podcast. It sounds extra dorky (ok, it is extra dorky), but it’s full of interesting studies about how people form good habits, what makes a good leader, and how to communicate well. I’ve been boning up on economics since the market crash in 2008, when, like the rest of the world, I was caught thinking “what the hell just happened?” And what has emerged from that is a desire to help other artists with financial issues, especially taxes.

When I listen to music in the studio, I like to belt it out like a crazy fool. Put on Jenny Lewis’ new album, The Voyager, and I’m going to have to apologize to my neighbors.

Hannah's family cabin in Maine, with daughter Farrah

Hannah's family cabin in Maine, with daughter Farrah

Where do you go for peace and quiet?

 My family cabin in Maine. My family has roots in the farmland of western Maine that go back for nine generations. Being there is all about family, nature, and summer. We’ve all been missing summer during this awful winter: just check out those bare feet, that tent, lobster and fresh corn, and that green color. Remember green?

Where is your next dream travel destination?

Near-term: Asheville, North Carolina. When I’m not painting, I do pottery for fun. I’ve been doing it for 19 years now. So the folk art traditions of western North Carolina, especially pottery, have always been a draw to me. In a month, I am finally making a pilgrimage there to check it out. Asheville seems like a place with interesting energy.

Longer-term: Japan.

Is there a color or palette that you are drawn to?

Blues. I have phases with favorite blues. When I was painting figures, I loved cobalt. It’s a warm blue, and reminds me of the robes of the Virgin Mary in pre-Renaissance painting. In grad school, I used so much turquoise that people began giving me presents of turquoise paint. This Christmas, my father gave me an enormous tub of Golden cobalt blue – after I haven’t used any in ten years. So I see myself going back on cobalt now…

Husky (Pliers), acrylic on canvas, 20" x 24," 2013

Husky (Pliers), acrylic on canvas, 20" x 24," 2013

Hannah's website:

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