Contemporary artist Hannah Jensen would be for many of us living the good life. This creator, surfer, yogini and true lover of the outdoors is an another of our Coola inspirations. We got in touch with Hannah to find out what’s currently going on in her world.
If you had to describe your art to someone who hadn’t seen it – what would you say ?
I call myself a carver, however, it’s not what your mind imagines, I carve into paint. I layer up boards with up to 70 layers of acrylic paint and carve back through the layers to reveal the colours below. It’s topographical, textural and incredibly tactical. I created this technique through trial and error while at uni in 2003. I am still inspired and challenged by it to this day. I love amplifying nature; its intricate details are carved passionately to create art that brings joy and emotion to peoples homes.
Nature is obviously a massive influence in your work – where else do you draw inspiration?
Time with friends. Nature connects me with the earth, friends connect me to the world (the people of this planet). Whether it’s time adventuring, in a yoga class, sitting on the couch with a cup of tea or over the phone, time with friends is joy shared and a soul fuelled which in turn inspires me to spread more joy through my medium of art.
Tell us a bit about what you’re currently working on and the process of getting a collection together?
After finishing my solo exhibition WILD last year, which was a 5 year journey in itself, I have taken a step away from preparing a huge show and connecting more with clients to work on commissions. So since June last year I have created over 80 commissions (which has included an amazing 2 month break overseas and moving cities from Auckland to Christchurch), you could say it’s been a little busy. But I have had time to think about new passion projects that I can’t wait to create. When bringing a collection to life, you are trying to create a cohesive body of work that for me, represents something going on in my life or the world. Exhibitions are huge projects and when self-funded, they can also be very expensive. So there are a few things in the pipeline. One is a pop-up show in September with two of my favourite artists FLOX and The Paper Rain Project, held here in Christchurch at The Exchange. This takes the pressure off holding a solo exhibition while still showing works in a super fun and interactive way. Another big shift for me this year is turning myself to teaching adults, I have taught youth at Starship for the last 8 years, but this year I am sharing my technique and running my own workshops starting this Spring. And lastly 2 large-scale pieces that are burning in my soul, that I will create at some point. One is a 4 metre Rhino and the other is a 6 metre Whale. This Rhino will be filled with blue and white china patterns, bringing attention to the significant Rhino trade to Asia. The Whale will be filled with carved white flowers, bringing into conversation the horrific amount of plastic in our oceans and the deaths it is causing our marine life; a memorial to our ocean. I have over 60 prepped boards in the studio at the moment, which are all ideas brewing! The artist's mind rarely stops, but that is something I am very grateful for.
What does self-care and well-being mean to you?
All the things that make you feel good, that are free; sleep, walking in nature, time with friends and kind loving thoughts. You can pay an arm and a leg for so many things in this world to make you feel good, but the best things are really free, which also take the stress out of it too. Self-care is a true practice of listening to what you need and not what others tell you-you need. Well-being is finding the state of being that suits your needs, and that is different for everyone.
Describe your perfect weekend?
Escaping the city with my lover! Adventuring somewhere to stay in a cabin and get lost in nature. Coffee and books in bed, exploring local walks, cooking delicious food and playing scrabble by a fire. There are so many wonderful places in this country; from mountain to ocean and everywhere in between. I love exploring the diverse landscapes we have here in New Zealand with my incredible partner. It refuels us and our connection.
What does your skincare regime look like?Very simple. Natural soaps and simple oils. It’s a rarity for me to wear makeup these days so my face is washed, as is my body, in the shower with a bar of natural soap and then once out and dry, I massage oil into my skin, from head to toe. At the moment it’s sweet almond oil infused with drops of lemongrass and eucalyptus essential oil. However, I have a collection of favourites from Sarah Tanners ‘On In’ oil used on my face and neck, as well as Argon, Rosehip and Jojoba or a blend depending on what I can get my hands on at the time. I adore essential oils dropped in to ignite the senses.
When I am hiking in the mountains or walking along the beach my favourite sunblock for my face is the Coola Mineral Face SPF 20 lotion Tinted Rose, and when I know I will be out on the water surfing or paddle boarding for a while, the Coola Classic Sport SPF 50 Mango is my go to!