Monday, December 1, 2008

Artist Feature :: Hillary Luetkemeyer

How long have you been working as an artist? Have you been schooled in art at all?

Little children are always making artwork, before they are taught to be ashamed of their creativity. I was fortunate in that my mother and a good adult friend of mine encouraged me, and so I just continued to make artwork where other people leave off. I took art classes in high school, and got my BFA in, of all things, metalsmithing.

I can see from your gallery that you work with a number of different media/mediums with your art, what is your favorite to work with and why?

My favorite to work in? Currently it's watercolor. I'd like to tell you that I vibe with the medium and that it speaks to me and so on, but that would be a lie. The real reason I use it is because I'm cheap, and you can use every little speck of watercolor because when it dries, all you need to do is apply more water to it. Acrylic and oil, once it dries, that's it; it's useless. And good paint is really expensive!

Can you remember the first image you displayed publicly online or in real life? What was the general reaction?

I really don't recall. I believe it was a painting I did for a contest back in high school. We had to paint this bridge house. It was hosted by a local guy who owned the subdivision or something. I really don't recall what kind of attention it received. I was just thrilled to win the scholarship money.

Your piece titled "Corrosion" really drew me in to your gallery, can you give us a little insight into the reasons you created it and what it means to you?

Ah, that's one of my favorites as well. To start with, I ought to talk a little bit about the media I used. As a metalsmithing major, I was encouraged, in my drawing 400 class, to incorporate my chosen major in my drawings. I began to use the patinas and corrosion's produced by metal as a drawing tool. In the piece, Corrosion, I was drawing directly from that experience, and used real rust as a drawing tool.

Thematically, it's meant as a comment or discussion on our use of animals as tools. The horse, once no longer useful, has been left in the field to rot, like an old tractor. It's seen not as a feeling being, but as a piece of equipment.

What does art and the creating of it mean to you? Is it a hobby, a calling, a way to pay bills or something even deeper?

I'd call it all of those things. I have chosen it as my profession, yes. And so it is a way to pay bills. It's also a hobby. It's also my life. I rarely go a day without working, both because I need to work to eat, but also because I feel a compulsion to create.

How would you describe your art? How have you developed your style over time? What influences helped get you to this point?

At present, I'd define my artwork as animal illustration art. I've always liked children's books and illustration, and that seems to be the way I'm leaning right now. However, I have so many interests, I can't say that's my chosen theme, particularly. It just happens to be what I'm into now. I just continue to work, and see where it takes me.

My influences are far too numerous to list. I could say life, or nature, but those are obvious answers. Everyone is influenced by life and nature.

Do you have a website or etsy account where we can find you online? Are you open for commissions?

My main website is my DeviantArt page:
My commissions lists are usually pretty full, but I circulate fast.

What are your goals as an artist, short term and long term? Where do you want to be with your art 5 or even 10 years from now?

I wish I could tell you. I'd be very interested in knowing, myself. I'd like to get back into metalsmithing, eventually, but this illustration thing seems to be working well for me right now.

The cheap answer is that I'd like to get better. I want to more accurately convey my ideas with more flawless images. Most importantly, I want to be able to say more with it, and be able to talk about something that I believe to be meaningful.