Hannah Schultz Art

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I first met Hannah Schultz in 2014 when we were studying French literature at Université Jean Moulin in Lyon. Her piercing blue eyes and curly hair were accented by a bohemian style akin to something featured in a Free People catalogue.

She introduced me to Murakami on an Italian train. I read her copy of Norwegian Wood in one sitting. She loves Vonnegut as well. "I've been devouring every book of theirs for years." When I ask her if she writes, she replies, "I can write, but not about myself. I don't think I would ever try my hand at writing."

To this day, I have encountered few people as thoughtful and unruffled as Hannah Schultz. "I think it is very important to learn at least one other language and to explore other cultures from a different view, not just through the eyes of an English-speaking tourist," she says.

Hannah is a wonderful travelling companion because of her ability to calmly absorb and recreate the beauty around her. We have travelled to Italy, the Netherlands, and Denmark together (among other places in France). I always appreciated her discreet presence. Hannah told me she's not big on being vulnerable or expressing herself her through words. "I try to express myself either through actions or through art," she admits. "I tend to be drawn more to extroverted people. I need that type of a relationship, being an introvert. My friends are supportive, they show up in good times and bad and are always striving to make plans and meals together."

Even if Hannah was never overly loquacious, I quickly understood that she was a mountain girl… and that the mountains meant something to her I would not fully understand, (having grown up  myself in a fairly industrial and flat part of Ontario). "Glacier National Park is my favorite place on Earth," she says. "I love the feeling of reaching the top of a mountain and looking down at what you have achieved."

Two years later, our paths crossed again when we were both living in Lorraine - she in a little village in the Vosges called Mirecourt and I in Metz. She describes this move as the scariest thing she had ever done. We both felt rather isolated teaching English to French high schoolers.

When Hannah came to visit me in Metz, she would buy art supplies at the Librairie Hisler. These days, she likes to peruse Blick Art to dream about art supplies. "I'm on Etsy all the time, I buy from there often," she says. The 25 year old also dabbles in film photography and hand embroidery.

Now that she's back in Montana, I reached out to Hannah to conduct my first interview of 2019. Keep reading to learn more about this talent! //

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RS: How did growing up in Montana affect your work?
HS: The natural beauty that abounds in Montana has always held a special place in my heart and has inspired me to recreate its beauty through paint. I never feel more joyful or more at peace than when roaming around in the woods or hiking up mountains.  I spent much of my childhood running through the woods barefooted, swimming in rivers and lakes, and searching for wildlife. I seek to recreate my most treasured places and joyful memories through paint as a way to immortalize them so I can look back upon them time and time again. I used to scour over books on botany and search for those wildflowers. This obsession with flowers has carried on into adulthood and I always feel compelled to recreate them in many of my paintings.

RS: Your passion has always been art.
HS: I've been creating it since I can remember. This passion started to become serious in high school, and has only grown stronger throughout the years. It wasn't until this year that I decided to ignore the external voices and pressures telling me not to pursue art seriously, and just go for it! It's the only thing I can see myself doing for the rest of my life and nothing brings me more happiness. My mediums of choice are oil and watercolor paints.

RS: What's a day in your life like and what are you working on for the future?
HS: I work a full eight hour day as a lead teacher in a preschool, and then I come home to unwind for an hour. And if I have any energy left, I like to commit at least a couple hours to my art. I usually try to dedicate one full day on the weekends to my artwork. I am currently applying to Graduate Schools to obtain my Masters in Fine Arts. I'm really excited about the prospect of committing to my art full time and building a career out of it. I recently had a show at The Loft of Missoula. I had been slaving away for months preparing, and I think it was a great success! I hope to have more shows in the near future!

RS: What are the main challenges and how do you overcome them?
HS: I would say finding the energy and maintaining the motivation to keep working on my art when so many other stressors and responsibilities get in the way. I always think the best motivator is having a goal that you are working towards. I've felt pretty lost since I received my bachelor's degree, without feeling much inspiration nor working towards any specific goals. But then an art call came out for a mural project that I had been dying to do for years. I applied and was accepted as a finalist! Then I decided to take my art seriously and work towards creating a career out of it. So I've been working tirelessly to produce art for shows, create a website, design business cards and apply for my MFA.

RS: What do you look for when painting?
HS: That what I'm creating means something to me. I create for myself, not for others. I believe that If I create a piece that brings me joy, than others will sense that joy when looking at my work as well.

RS: You also enjoy savouring moments of relief.
HS: I love the feeling of finishing a big project or reaching a goal and experiencing the big sigh of relief afterwards. When you can finally breathe. What else? The relief of a sneeze. Sleeping in. I love lazy days when I can just stay in bed and unwind.

RS: What does nature reflect to you?
HS: Nature is a safe space, a refuge from the ugliness of the world, a reminder that we are so small in a world so big. When I feel insufficient, unacknowledged or unheard. I find that I can always retreat to nature for calm and peace.

RS: What are your favourite scents?
HS: Pine trees. The smell of lilacs in the spring. Rain. Coffee.

RS: You've always been drawn to Impressionism. Can you comment on your all-time fave artist, Claude Monet?
HS: My most treasured trip was to Giverny where Monet's home and garden are located. I think it is amazing that he cultivated such a vast and beautiful garden and drew much of his artistic inspiration from it. I have several works dedicated to the flowers that are grown there.

RS: Favourite music?
HS: I love so much, it's very hard to pick out my favorites. Some of my all time favorite musicians/bands would have to be: Bob Dylan, Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, Tame Impala, The Temptations, The Beach Boys, Beach House, Rihanna, Fleet Foxes, Frank Ocean, Rhye, Hiatus Kaiyote, Jesse Woods, James Blake, Johnny Cash, Leon Bridges, Mac DeMarco, Molly Burch, Nick Hakim, Paul Simon, Sam Cooke, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, Whitney....Among many, many others.

RS: Best concert you've been to?
HS: So, so, so many. I think seeing Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings in concert was a very memorable experience, especially since she passed away shortly after.

RS: What is your personal philosophy in life?
HS: Always show love, understanding and kindness to one another.

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