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UNT artist uses painting and design to convey internalized thoughts

UNT artist uses painting and design to convey internalized thoughts

UNT artist uses painting and design to convey internalized thoughts
July 03
12:00 2020

As she strokes her brush against a canvas with brightly-colored acrylic paints, communication design senior Hannah Davis is both creating a new work of art and bringing her own thoughts and emotions to life.

“Towards the beginning of quarantine, I was going through a very rough patch in life and really just started slamming paint on canvases and then going from there, letting my emotions take control of the pieces,” Hannah said.

Hannah does not start her art pieces with a specific vision in mind, and she keeps adding to it until she feels that the piece is complete.

“Now, I have been sketching [my paintings] out more in black ink on paper, with pretty much the same process of gathering my emotions and creating something that seems fitting for how I feel,” Hannah said. “From there, I go to a canvas and recreate the sketch in black paint, and then fill the empty spaces with color, like a coloring book almost. I honestly never have an end idea to how my paintings will look — I kind of just keep going until I feel like the piece is finished.”

Hannah’s interest in art sparked when she was younger, and she has kept up with it throughout her lifetime.

“I took a few art classes when I was younger and I had fallen in love with it more and more over the years,” Hannah said. “I really did not know until high school whether I wanted to pursue it or not, but I had an amazing art teacher who really helped me realized that I would like to do something creative in my future [and] career.”

Those surrounding Hannah have seen her passion and talent for art over the years, said Judi Davis, Hannah’s mom and a Colleyville resident.

“Hannah has been an artistic [and] creative child from day one,” Judi said. “She always asked for art supplies as gifts and is proficient in many [mediums]: ink, charcoal, pastel, paint and mixed media. As a child, she filled sketchbooks with drawings rather than [playing] with toys or dolls. Her third grade teacher noticed her exceptional eye for color and suggested we enroll her in art classes.”

Hannah uses her work as a way to process internal thoughts and ideas.

“For me, my work is very emotional and personal to me,” she said. “I have not shared specific ideas, emotions or concepts for all of my individual pieces, but overall it’s me figuring out my feelings and just processing them. The overall goal of my work, or meaning, revolves around me trying to depict not objective realities but the personal emotions and emotional responses that objects [and] events have on people.”

She also uses her work as a platform to explore the concept of human life on earth.

“My work is also focused on questioning the purpose of life, human existence and your overall purpose as human being, really the idea of existentialism,” Hannah said. “I try to incorporate those ideas through symbolism and the distortion of the bodies of my subjects or characters. When my work is stripped down without color, you will just see [a] dark subject, which is my emphasis on the darkness of my work, and almost pain. I contrast the darkness with loads of saturated color, trying to emphasize the essence of life, to symbolically show, I guess, the good that can come from pain and hurting.”

Others look at Hannah’s work and can get an idea of her interpretation of the world.

“Hannah’s art is important because it makes you stop and appreciate all the details,” said Noelle Hayes, Hannah’s friend and an interior design senior. “Her art makes you see how she sees the world, and her ability to show how vulnerable humans can be is super rare.”

Hayes said Hannah is the most colorful person she has ever met, and her detailed pieces are able to show viewers her passion for art.

“I met Hannah my freshman year of college, and we both are art majors,” Hayes said. “I tell every person who asks about the art program at UNT about her. She is an amazing and talented artist, but an even better friend and person to have in your life. She is brave and thoughtful and her art is just like her: colorful and full of life.”

Most of Hannah’s artistic inspiration comes from Yayoi Kusama, Marina Abromavic, Jean-Michel Basquiat and other expressionist painters, she said.

“I am constantly looking at art and other peoples’ work,” Hannah said. “For me, what is more inspirational is the message behind the work and emotional strife people go through rather than the work itself.”

Hannah said she plans on pursuing a design career and wants to continue to make art and grow her painting career simultaneously. Her art gives her a platform for self-expression and she hopes others can process their own thoughts when viewing her work.

“I know every one goes through hard times, but some people aren’t able to feel like they can creatively express that,” Hannah said. “So I really hope people are able to look at my work and honestly feel their own emotions come through.”

Courtesy Hannah Davis

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Maria Lawson

Maria Lawson

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