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Name: Ilse Hill 

Class year: 2022 

Major: Architectural Studies

Instagram art account: @ii_illy


1.  Can you tell Her Campus a little bit about yourself? 

“I am a First Generation Liberian American. I’m a junior student at Mount Holyoke College and I’m really interested in Design and accessibility [in Design].” 


2. What has made you become interested in drawing? 

“I think I’d say that I’ve always been drawing, but I didn’t think I was very good at it or that I would pursue it in any serious way until 9th grade when I had an amazing art teacher. She was probably my only friend at school for some time and she was super encouraging in my art and in any vision I had for something to make. There was also my grandmother (a self-proclaimed Afro cubist painter) who was overjoyed at my pursuit of art at that time and encouraged me. I think the summer after my 9th grade year was when I really dove into drawing through hyper- realistic graphite sketches.” 


3. You mentioned that you are interested in accessibility. What have you been exploring regarding accessibility in drawing? 

“I think the way I try to approach accessibility through design is choosing subjects that other people would find relatable or interesting. Although, if I became a gallery artist one day, I would like it if people could touch and interact with my paintings for a more accessible and interesting experience.” 


4. Recently, what are the subjects of your artwork, and what are they trying to say? 

“Recently (within the past year or so), I’ve been aiming to make art around magical themes and magical creatures. I really like stars and things that glow and paint powerful-looking women. I think fantasy was always a haven for me in books as a child and I want to give that feeling of being taken to a safer place for people who see my art. Also, fantasy stretches the bounds of the possible and credible and you end up realizing that with enough proof, people could probably believe anything.”


A post shared by Ilse Hill (@ii_illy)


5. What is your favorite fantasy book, and have you ever drawn and painted your imagination of the world in that fantasy book down to the canvas? 

“My favorite fantasy book is probably Quintana of Charyn. I haven’t painted any of the scenes from it; although, I definitely should!”


6. You mentioned that your grandmother is the motivator of your art aspiration. Have you ever collaborated with her to produce an artwork, or is there any of your artwork that commemorates her inspiration?  

“Sadly, my grandmother passed away before I had really gotten into my stride with art. She had only seen a few of my earlier paintings. As to the other question, there were two ink portraits of hers that were in my living room for as long as I can remember. I think those really inspired me.”


7. What is your favorite art piece of yours? Can you describe the journey to this piece, and what were the emotions you experienced while panting this? 

“I’d say that this (photo below) is one of my favorite recent works. It felt like a huge artistic achievement for me. I used multiple different references for it and kind of tailored them to the scene and played a lot with magic, lighting, and fantasy which are some things I always strive to include in paintings but don’t always reach. I painted it in a few different settings/emotional moments. I was in Philadelphia when I started it, on a plane, and then I finished it in Atlanta. I feel like it has a piece of that travel history in its DNA now.

I think I had 3 or 4 references that I drew from. All of them were from the dragon prince promotion deck, so I just got inspired by some of their images that I found on google. I think because of the pandemic most of the art I make is an exercise in escapism. I have about 3 states of pandemic emotion: complacent, sad, and thoughtful. I think that piece was made during a complacent phase.” 


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Thien An (she/her/hers) is currently a junior at Mount Holyoke College, majoring in English, with a minor in History.
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