At Home with NM Artist Hannah Dean

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A self described maximalist living in a minimalist cabin in Cloudcroft, New Mexico, artist Hannah Dean creates her impressionist paintings and contemporary portraits from her studio-in-a-box at her kitchen table. Her studio-in-a-box holds her paints, brushes, palettes and current canvases. Every piece in her studio reflects a choice made in contents. Like her carefully crafted studio, her experiment in tiny house living with her husband and daughter reflects just as much calculated planning and effort. When asked if she ever feels limited or constrained by the 560 square foot cabin, she replies, “Never. I see possibilities in every inch of our space.” Her husband, Tanner, customizes pieces of furniture for their tiny home like their nightstands and mattress platform. These pieces create ample storage solutions, so Hannah has the freedom (and space) to imbue the home with original works of art from regional artists without overfilling the space. She fills their home with posters designed and hand printed in Lubbock, Texas by f2design studios, and 3D pieces by featured Garmentory artist Gabo Martini of Austin among many others. 

Hannah’s ability to see possibilities anywhere led to her participation in community projects in Cloudcroft like beautifying the hamlet’s dumpsters with delicate native plants and capturing the iconic trestle bridge for Cloudcroft’s City Hall. When she’s not immersed in community projects, she accepts commissions and expands her body of work. Check out her online gallery at: https://www.saatchiart.com/pobox98881

From her centrally located kitchen table she creates her observational, impressionist paintings. In Hannah’s words, “observational painting is an act of living through sight: noticing subtle shifts in color, the edges and space between things. I try to leave paintings in the “ala prima” stage, where I spend an hour or two at most working on them, the paint still wet. Mostly I paint from photographic resources and memory: my own, and found images on Google search.” Hannah’s trained eye captures subtle motions expertly: the flash of a smile, the tilt of a head, and the meaningful placement of everyday objects. Her powers of observation are particularly important to her because of a condition she lives with where the retinas of her eyes tear easily. Retina detachment causes her to see colored orbs in her line of sight. Hannah channels this vision phenomena into her work. When you see pieces like Lubbock from Memory and Parking Lot from Memory, these works offer a glimpse of her experience with retinal detachment. The colorful polka dots catch the viewer’s attention right off, then brings closer attention to the focus of the portrait or landscape. The dots echo the emotion of Hannah’s work and creates an especially powerful experience for viewers.

By: Kaity Hirst

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