Interview: Hannah Stouffer
Hannah Stouffer (b 1981) is an American art director and visual artist living and working in Los Angeles, CA. Born and raised in Aspen, CO, Stouffer relocated to CA in 1999. With over 15 years experience in fine art and commercial illustration, design, writing, publishing, and curatorial production, Stouffer has proven to be a powerhouse in creative visual media. She is identified as both an art director and visual artist, having maintained a strong presence in both fields, commercially and with her own fine art. Having produced and published 3 contemporary art books, Stouffer is a true tastemaker of visual aesthetics. She is currently a contributing writer for VICE's Creators Project, while also maintaining her own inspiration source, Lust-After.
In 2015, Stouffer brought her creative vision and expertise to H+ Creative, as the founder of the experiential services agency filling the role of the company's art director. With H+, Stouffer aimed to create experiences centered on client connectivity through visual production, art direction, consultation, and curation. With abilities are as diverse as the clients she serves, H+ thrives on projects that expand her own conceptual process.
From 2011-2014 Stouffer contributed as the editor for leading art publication Juxtapoz Magazine. As a content creator for nearly four years, Stouffer diligently informed the public through print and media platforms, generating eight online posts per day, and one print feature per month. During this time she produced and curated book titles Juxtapoz Psychedelic and Juxtapoz New Contemporary, in addition to producing the monumental Psychedelic Book Release Exhibition at The Well in Los Angeles, CA.
Before 2011, Stouffer's career as a commercial and fine art illustrator allowed her work to be commissioned by many high profile clients. Under Jen Vaughn Artist Agency, projects include work for AMEX, Dell, Microsoft, Nike, The New York Times and Wall Street Journal China allowing her creative hand to lead massive campaigns, both nationwide and abroad. Stouffer has been commissioned by Christian Dior, at Art Basel Miami, POW! WOW! Hawaii, KINFOLK in Brooklyn and Pangea Seed in Isla Mujeres, Mexico for large scale site-specific work as well.
With her initial exhibition at the Aspen Art Museum, Stouffer has been showing her work in galleries and museums worldwide since her introduction to visual media. Exhibitions include work at the Japanese American National Museum and The Dallas Museum of Art with solo shows in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, Denver and New York. Stouffer has been present as a juror for the Art Directors Club of Houston and an ambassador of the arts in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, Israel with social startup, Kinetis (to name a few).
Tell us briefly about your journey as an artist.
To be honest, it's all I've ever known and was encouraged to do from a very young age. I've drifted and evolved from a variety of mediums, outputs, and projects and worked as a fine and commercial artist, illustrator, art director, curator and art writer. I spent four years as the illustration and erotica editor at Juxtapoz Magazine and am currently a contributing writer for Vice's Creators Projects. I recently produced my third visual art book (The New Age of Ceramics) and launched a visual agency this year, H+ Creative, representing a roster of top-tier international talents. That's about it. I maintain my own art practice and am infinitely curious. It's been a good ride thus far. What inspired you to start H+ Creative?
After a good long run as a commercial illustrator, the next viable step seemed to be to extend my experience in the industry to assist other artists in a similar field. While the landscape of agency and industry work has shifted to more of a digital platform, I'm currently working with and representing artists that have a basis in both their own fine artwork and also a drive for doing projects commercially. I've always had an infatuation for both the visual arts and the entrepreneurial side of the business, and this allows for both.
How does being an art director and consultant inspire your studio practice?
It's really just a further extension of my aesthetic vision and ways in which I can carry my knowledge on. It's all wrapped up into one nice big, illuminated, holographic, paint covered package. It's all so intertwined at this point.
Name few artists or creatives that have influenced your work.
I wouldn't even know where to begin, but the start of my career was really fueled by Deanne Cheuk, Si Scott, Andy Warhol and my father, Marty Stouffer.
What's a typical day like for you?
Well, I'm currently drinking tea and typing away on the computer... I'll probably do this for a little while then take my dog for a run in the park. I'll make it to the studio and try to wrap my head around a zillion things that all seem to be floating in my mental peripheral. I'll make a mess, get distracted, make some progress and get outside again for the sunset. I gave up on stress a long time ago, and now I just do what I want.