Written by: Anke Bezuidenhout
This week we were joined by uber talented and long-term girl crush of the OhSevenDays team, Hannah Rae Powell. We've been obsessed with Hannah's art for a few years now, and even did a collaboration with her to create the Hannah Sweater, the graphic knit of our dreams! We sat down with Hannah in her home in Melbourne to discuss all things art, career, sustainability and more.
Who is Hannah Rae Powell?
I am an artist. It’s taken me a long time to say that and be comfortable in saying that. I work predominantly in digital and always assumed that if you’re an artist you have to be a painter. It feels good to be able to say that now. So I am an artist. I am also incredibly self-reflective and very interested in psychology, so I have those two opposing parts, but they also work really well together. So that’s what makes up me I would say.
Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like?
I grew up in Mortialic. Currently I’m living in Melbourne so (Mortialic) is about 30 minutes away from here. It’s along the beach there’s really gorgeous beaches. It feels really nice to have grown up with access to such a beautiful area. When you’re in the city you often don’t get that luxury of just walking 10 minutes down to the beach. Childhood was a mixture of being the most nervous anxious person ever and a lot of fun. I have a beautiful family and we did lots of fun things and they fully supported any artistic endeavour or any other endeavour I wanted to do. So I’m very lucky.
Can you tell us a bit about your art?
My art was born out of quite a hard time in my life. Mentally I was very anxious, very depressed, as a lot of people are, as we all are. When I was feeling quite low it was the first time that I naturally started drawing and painting. Without me doing it on purpose it felt like therapy for me and I am a big advocate for art as therapy. Definitely my art came out of a hard time but it’s the way that I work through my feelings. It's the way that I work through issues in my relationship and my life and while it may not be obvious to people exactly what it's about, it's a weird personal diary for me and I can just put my feelings out there and kind of figure out what's going on.
Do you have a song or podcast recommendation?
All of the Weyes Blood album, the new one. She's incredible! She’s an incredible artist to put on while you’re painting. I think she’s got a really dreamy, ethereal kind of voice and it’s just perfect for painting I think.
In terms of podcasts I’m a psychology nerd so Invisibilia and anything by Esther Perel.
How do you try to be more sustainable in your everyday life?
I'm a big fan of op shopping. I really dislike fast fashion, it makes me feel quite uncomfortable. I love op shopping! I think it’s such a fun thing to do and you often end up with pieces that no one else has and I think that’s one of my things I’m very good at. So buy vintage and if you are going to buy clothes, putting in the research, time and money into something that is made sustainably or locally is a really good way to be sustainable.
With my business I am making ‘to order’ so there’s no wastage. People can order art in all different sizes and I can send it directly to them. It cuts down on having to store and print a bunch of things that might not be used.
What do you consider to be your latest victory?
Venturing into painting which has been really fun. So to backtrack one of my earlier answers - painting already kind of scared me. A victory is when people trust me to do painting commissions. I did two really large ones last year over Covid and it was just such an amazing feeling to be able to produce something so large and so myself and have someone else want that in their home is just incredible. It's such a wild feeling. So that would be it.
What’s your dream for your career?
My dream for my career is to mix my two loves (psychology and also creativity) so I would really like to be an art therapist in the future. I am studying at the moment. I think it would be a really nice way to marry those two things.
How do you relax after a tense day?
Wine, wine, wine! And I love to paint. I’ll often put down a big drop sheet and I will paint in the afternoon whilst drinking wine and also listening to music. So that's one of my favourite things to do.
What do you feel the best wearing?
Again, something from an op shop or vintage. Ever since I was a kid I've loved putting outfits together. It’s something I think about all the time. If I’ve got an event in three weeks today I'll be like okay what am I wearing? What’s it gonna look like? What cool things can I mix together? That’s something I literally fall asleep thinking about. I love clothes and I love putting things together. So yes, something vintage and from an op shop definitely. Anything that is a little bit left of centre or something that not everyone is wearing.
Are you where you thought you’d be in life? Is there anything you’d change?
I’m really happy with where I am at the moment which feels incredible to say, I don’t think I’ve been able to say that for the last, I don't even know how long! I’m really happy with where I'm at, at the moment. Studying and being able to work in design and illustration feels really incredible. I believe that everything happens for a reason, so no I wouldn't change anything. I think everything that's happened has made me who I am and anything that's ever been a low point I've often felt able to use as inspiration for work or as a way to deal with that thing. So no, I wouldn't change anything.
Day or night? Night
Three words that define you? Manic, creative, caring
Dream travel destination? Sicily, back to Italy
Favourite song? Stevie Nicks - Edge of Seventeen
Go to cocktail? Dirty martini, gin, with olives
Style icon? Alexa Chung
Coffee or tea? Coffee, coffee, coffee, coffee!
Current TV obsession? White Lotus
Three things you can’t live without? Coffee, martini, music
Favourite app? Tik Tok