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Meet Hannah Pearman of Hannah and the Cosmos in Kirkwood

Today we’d like to introduce you to Hannah Pearman.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Hannah. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Ever since my hand could hold a paintbrush, art has been a central source of clarity, perspective and serenity in my life.

I was born at the very bottom of the sparsely populated South Island of New Zealand, next door neighbor to the Antarctic, and grew up in the gateway to Fjordland, our country’s major national park. My first memories are of puddles of bright orange and yellow paint in a kindergarten art class and from that point, the drawing, painting and photographing never slowed. I finished my BA in visual communication in my hometown of Christchurch before a confluence of choice and chance landed me in Atlanta in 2007.

Following that trans-Pacific move, artmaking evolved from translator and happy place to lifesaver. I was terribly homesick in the years after leaving New Zealand and had a new, acute fascination with the concept of ‘home’. At that time, I was working primarily in oils, drawing and working as a freelance photographer. Through those mediums, I reclaimed a sense of self in my new city and began to recapture a feeling of belonging.

They say necessity is the mother of invention but I think, adversity deserves some credit, too. Just as my creativity had blossomed in the aftermath of my immigration to the US ten years ago, so it did again more recently during a period of heartbreak. As I was navigating the loss of an important relationship, I realized that the only thing that felt good was color — all of the colors, in myriad, endless combinations. I found salvation in the spectrum.

This recovery period gave life to my current fluid abstract style, in part because it’s a repeated exercise in letting go. My technique is supremely organic, resting on gravity and good intentions to come to life and every time I have to trust that something beautiful will emerge. And once completed, my works transport me into deep space or a vast ocean — the incomprehensible, sprawling components of the cosmos — yet another opportunity for perspective; a reminder that we are part of something massive and our lifetimes are but the blink of an eye.

Now, I have a solo show and a few group shows under my belt, and I just moved into my very own studio space. My work remains a place of energy, tranquility and solace. It takes me back to the icy, meandering landscapes of my childhood, the trailing backdrop of the Southern Alps, the sweet-scented breeze of the lush rainforests and the Southern Cross constellation glimmering above the gray-blue ocean. Each piece is a whisper of gratitude and a way home.

Has it been a smooth road?
At the risk of sounding like my father, is any road worth traveling ever smooth? Suffice to say, no, it’s had its fair share of obstacles. Those began when I left New Zealand and upended my life, but the challenges have changed flavor and become less daunting with time and patience.

One of my biggest recent challenges was creating work in a tiny space. I am, of course, thankful to have any space to create in at all, but upsizing has been a dream come true, and something that I trust will open more doors for my work — and actual doors the giant pieces will fit through.

The organic nature of my style means I am in a near-constant state of experimentation with my materials and substrates, and that can be frustrating if I’m aiming for a specific outcome. But, then I remember that the magic is in embracing the unpredictability.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
As Hannah and the Cosmos, fluid abstractionist, I create mixed media paintings with the ultimate goal of delighting eyes and inspiring emotions.

I’m learning that, when someone looks at one of my paintings, the first thing out of their mouths is inevitably going to be “Oh! It looks like…”. And, that human reaction to assign understanding and perspective to something abstract is such a beautiful indicator of our intelligence as a species. We’re always trying to figure things out and I love being a facilitator of that instinctual dot-connection. I also love creating work that naturally welcomes in someone’s unique experiences to frame their enjoyment of it.

Some of my work starts with me and whatever palette I am feeling inspired to create in, and about half is commissioned pieces — something I absolutely love to do. There’s no feeling quite like being chosen to create a custom artwork for a life, home or loved one.

There is a distinct honesty in all of my work. It is extremely representative of me as a person; to look at my work is to know me. I welcome every feeling, I have an epic sweet tooth, I’m mesmerized by ordinary things and I believe, wholeheartedly, in love.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Atlanta has become my second home, and I feel very lucky to get to create here in the company of such a diverse community of artists, thinkers and doers. It has been the epicenter of many starts for me, and while I’ve visited corners of the world, Atlanta is the one place with that special, steady, low-tone sparkle that just lifts good stuff up.

My hope for our city is that this diversity remains strong and supported, and opportunities for success and creative expression are extended further still, through the development of minority, immigrant, black, and women-run businesses and creatives.

I’m also excited to see innovative groups like Figure & Ground and FamilyHood shining the creative spotlight on new and emerging talent, providing access to the exposure and recognition that can really kickstart an art presence. They’ve both helped me considerably, and I am eternally grateful for their work and dedication to our creative landscape.

All in all, Atlanta is a vibrant, dynamic home for the arts and I suspect, perched on the very edge of some epic growth.

Contact Info:

Image Credit for Hannah’s photo under headline: 
Wes Cummings

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