Haley is one of more recent girl crushes. She ‘randomly’ (nothings is really random in the age directed by algorithms, is it?) came up in my Instagram feed a few months ago. Last year did she accomplish the task of posting a sketch or drawing on instagram everyday and share them under #haleysketch. Here is a little conversation we had about creativity, inspiration and to put your stuff out there on the internet.
Denise: Lets start with a little introduction, who are you and what is it that you do?
Haley: I’m Haley and what I do is make art on paper. Mostly painting and drawing lately, but also some collage on occasion. I started out with art journaling a few years ago and in 2015 I did a project where I made a drawing every day and posted it to Instagram, which kind of brought me into a whole new art practice. Now, I’m still creating pretty much every day but I have fewer rules about it.
Denise: And where can I find you online?
D: How do you decide what goes where?
H: When I first started using Instagram for art, it was for my daily project and now that that’s over I’ve been thinking quite a bit about how to use the platform. During the project my photos and drawings weren’t always things I was super proud of but I posted every day anyway, which had pros and cons. Now, I try and keep my Instagram relevant to what I’m working on that day and I think the goal is for my feed to look like the inside of my brain at any given moment.
I’m really fascinated by process, so I try and put longer, more thoughtful posts on my blog about creativity and my artistic journey/process. I try to post what I like to read, but sometimes it is just a dumping ground for anything with a lot of photos or anything longer. I’ve been on Tumblr longer than any of my other social media (since 2008 I think) so I think of it as more personal and as more of a record for me. I put up a lot of things that inspire me, share more personal thoughts sometimes. Tumblr was the first place that I shared my work, but that has mostly moved to Instagram now.
D: Tell me about your instagram project, how did that idea come about?
H: The instagram project was completely inspired by other people, I can take no credit for it. Crystal Moody did a drawing per day in 2014 (she calls it year of creative habits) and I heard about it a few days before the New Year and I decided to go for it on January 1 I think. But I’d also heard of other artists (like Lisa Congdon) doing similar things, so I think they all kind of collectively pushed me to do it.
D: Really? I‘ve never heard of it, or maybe I should say: i’ve never heard of anyone who actually accomplished such a new years resolution.
How do you think being able to share it on instagram affected the project?
H: Yeah I’m definitely not the first. It really helps to know that other people have done it, so it can be done.
I think sharing on Instagram had a huge impact on the project. There was definitely the whole accountability aspect where I knew that if I didn’t post maybe someone somewhere who was following me would notice that I had skipped a day. But I think the bigger part that made a difference for me was having to kind of proclaim my interest in art. Before the project art was not something that I really shared with others. Probably the scariest and most rewarding part was having to tell people that knew me in real life and followed me on Instagram that this was something I was pursuing. For some reason I had a fear that they would think I was a fraud, since they had known me for years and I hadn’t shown an interest in making visual art. But that definitely didn’t happen and I became so much more comfortable sharing and talking about my work.
D: oh, that’s interesting. Did you receive a lot of feedback?
H: I didn’t receive much feedback from the people that i was worried about back then. my friends were very supportive and i never heard any negative feedback, but i think a lot of the people who followed me back then who i knew but didn’t talk to very often saw my art posts and were like “oh” and moved on. but i’ve definitely met so many people on Instagram through art after I started sharing it consistently.
D: Where do you go for inspiration?
H: I‘m not sure that i go to any one specific place for inspiration. i’m more like constantly taking things in (on Instagram, blogs, podcasts, movies, and real life), swirling them around in my brain, and hopefully coming up with ideas. i keep lots of lists of things to research or to draw later. but if I’m just looking to draw something quickly as a warmup or for practice i will often check my Instagram or Tumblr feeds for a subject. Most of my more “finished” work doesn’t start that way though.
D: I showed your blog to a friend of mine, she found your posts very inspiring. Do you have any thoughts about how you want to spread and inspire people to be creative through your texts?
H: Wow that’s so wonderful to hear! blogging can feel a little bit like shouting into a void – there aren’t as many easy feedback mechanisms as there are on Instagram or Tumblr and people have to seek it out a bit more. i think i would be very happy if i inspired anyone to make something or do anything that maybe they didn’t think they could do before or weren’t going to attempt before. i think a lot of us are limited by our own beliefs – i read once that many women will only apply to a job if they think they meet 100% of the requirements, but many men will apply for a job if they think they meet 60% of the requirements. And even if that statistic is wrong or I’m completely misremembering it – I identity so much with that in my own life. not even starting or trying something because i don’t feel qualified. ive never been to art school and I wasn’t one of those kids who grew up doing art and being known for making art, so i hope my art or writing could inspire someone to try something they were intimidated by before. i don’t always have that kind of self confidence, but if I were to inspire someone that’s what i hope would come out of it.
D: Do you think you would have been as creative and worked so actively on being a creative if you wouldn’t have had the possibility to showcase it yourself? or make your own space for it?
H: Hmm. i think that i’ve always been a creative person. as i mentioned, I wasn’t someone who grew up doing visual art as much, but looking back i can definitely see that i was always interested in something creative – writing, fashion, i even tried to make videos for a while. and for the most part the Internet has been a huge part of that as a learning tool. i learned pretty much everything I know about art and technique from the Internet just liked I poured over fashion blogs when i was 14. I think i would still be creative, but I’m not sure how that would have developed without other people showcasing their work online. sharing mine has always come after learning from others. but i think the drive to share online has always been there just because it seems so fun to me.
I wrote an undergraduate thesis on blogging. I was pretty fascinated with sharing online for a long time before I started doing it in the way that i am now
D: Isn’t it fascinating?
I’m not gonna hold you any longer, but as a last question: do you have any internet girl crush that you would like to share with me?
H: Yes! Oh my goodness there are so many people I could mention, but someone who I am so interested in online right now is Kara Haupt of xo babe vibes. Her art and design are amazing, I love what she does to empower other women, and I just think she is so cool.
The interview took place over fb chat on the 29th of March.
All images belong to Haley Aubuchon.