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The greatest power art has is to make you feel, and feel deeply. Hallie Elizabeth’s art is heartbreakingly beautiful. Hallie is an artist who on the surface might seem to have it all, beauty, ultra high level artistry, a massive social media following, a good looking, caring boyfriend, and a lovely life in central California with palm trees and sun kissed sandy beaches at sunset.
On the surface she looks like she has it all, but if you know the story of Hallie Elizabeth, and you look at her art everything suddenly starts to “click.” Many of her characters are loosely (or firmly) based on her. At one point the girls started to look beat up, bloodied, and struck with projectile arrows sticking out of their beautiful skin. This coincided with personal tragedies throughout her life, the loss loved ones, severe nearly deadly car wrecks that nearly left her paralyzed, and autoimmune illness that in many ways must make her life a living hell. Like Qing Han in this issue, Hallie’s Art serves as therapy. Hallie needs her art to survive, and as you view her works you might see them differently if you understand the very real, and very scary horror she has been facing on a daily basis.
Hallie is one of our heroes. Some of our readers out there might be suffering in some way, mentally, physically, emotionally, or otherwise and Urban-Muse hopes that by highlighting artists like Hallie we can encourage you to persevere, to carry on, and to never give up. Even if it takes every last ounce of strength in your battered and bruised body, never put down that brush.
Urban-Muse.com: Hallie, it’s such a pleasure to finally be interviewing you for Urban-Muse, this has been a long time coming. You’re an artist living in the San Luis Obispo area of California, of the 20 artists profiled in this issue only 3 are actually from the United States, and you’re the only female American being profiled in this issue. What can you tell the readers about what it’s like to be a Female Artist living in 2017 California USA? Can you give a slice of life image about what your life is like?
Hallie Elizabeth: Well, for starters, I am honored to be representing female artists from America in this issue. There are a lot of talented women who are creating art, and I am happy to be considered one of them. As for my experience as a contemporary female artist in California… you know, it’s varied. I have met a lot of wonderful people in the art world out here, particularly down in Los Angeles and Long Beach. I have been given a lot of encouragement. On the flip side, there have been many closed doors and people saying my artwork is “too weird”. As for what my daily life is like… I spend my days working at a non-profit in public health, because I really enjoy helping people and making a difference. At night, it’s all about painting. And on the weekends I try to find inspiration in nature, on hikes or at the beach… California is certainly wonderful for that.
Urban-Muse.com: Your artwork is some of the most popular artwork shared on Urban-Muse, often with your pieces being the top liked/shared images of the month. You are painting at a very high level and create deeply moving and thought provoking pieces. Which would you say is your favorite, and which has been the most popular of all time?
Hallie Elizabeth: Thank you. Again, I am honored. I would like to say thank you to all the loyal fans I have, here on Urban Muse and elsewhere… especially for believing in me and my work, even when I have long stretches where I do not post anything. As for which pieces are my favorite, two immediately come to mind. There is one I did back in August of 2014… it is untitled, but I completed that piece shortly after my father died. It was very cathartic to create… I had a lot of pain that came out in that piece. It remains one of the pieces I refuse to sell. The second one that comes to mind is “The Space Between Us”. That was a turning point for me, artistically speaking. I felt alive when I finished that piece.
The Space Between Us:
Urban-Muse.com: Over the past few years, your artwork has been really evolving and improving, you are an artist who started off well, but grew into something great. There has been a clear progression over the months and years when looking at your work with each piece being a little better than the last. How is it you think you achieved that? What is your secret? What tips and or advice could you possible tell the Urban-Muse readers who want to improve their own work?
Hallie Elizabeth: Oh, boy. I honestly couldn’t say how I achieved that, or if I even feel that I have achieved that… I feel like I am still growing and learning, with every day and every piece. The best advice I have is just keep painting, drawing, sketching, etc. That’s the big secret. You keep going. Which I know can be frustrating to hear when you are trying to get better or find your style. It takes a hell of a lot of time… as I said, I still do not feel I am there.
Urban-Muse.com: What is your work process like, describe your workspace, and tools of the trade, programs, tablet, computer etc.
Hallie Elizabeth: My workspace is cozy. Being primarily a digital artist at this stage of my career, I work at a desk with a huge monitor most of the time. I am usually in a very dark room, with only a salt lamp illuminating my space. My work desk can typically be found covered in healing crystals, tarot cards, and vials of essential oils. And you can usually find me with a beer… or a coffee, if it’s early. As for tools of the trade, I use a Wacom tablet and Krita, which is a free and open source paint program I highly recommend to anyone who asks about which programs to use.
Urban-Muse.com: Who have been your greatest artistic influences?
Hallie Elizabeth: So many. I am inspired by all artists and the unique way they see the world. However, my top artistic influences are Frida Kahlo, Alphonse Mucha, Gustav Klimt, Yoshitaka Amano, and Francesca Woodman.
Urban-Muse.com: Like many artists I think I have heard you mention sometimes you get “artists block” I think this is a common thing for most artists, have you found any good ways to combat it, anything you could share with the Urban-Muse readers?
Hallie Elizabeth: I am almost perpetually afflicted with artist’s block. I feel I am usually in a state of being blocked, with periods of inspiration. So, instead of listing ways to combat artist’s block, I would encourage people to just go out and find inspiration. It doesn’t matter where you find that inspiration… just go find it and then paint how it made you feel.
Urban-Muse.com: On a serious note, without getting into specifics, you are an artist who has had to deal with many serious and personal adversities, yet you seem to stay positive and continue to create art. How have you been able to do this? Do you think in your case Art has a therapeutic effect on your life? What would you tell someone in your situation, who might be going through a hard time, how they can persevere and continue to create great art even when it’s difficult?
Hallie Elizabeth: I can get into some specifics, because I think it will help me answer this question. I struggle with an auto-immune condition called Systemic Lupus Erythematosus that comes with a slew of other health related problems. It’s a struggle; every day comes with some amount of pain, fatigue, or just plain sadness. I have done a lot of art pieces on these feelings… some of those pieces where “my girls” were outwardly bruised and battered are a testament to my illness. Because that’s how you feel when you’re sick. Everything hurts as though you got beat to shit. But you know what? You just keep fighting. You create something out of it. You take whatever darkness, whatever heaviness you have been given and you repurpose it into something beautiful. You turn your burden into a gift. That is the job of the creative individual.
Urban-Muse.com: You seem to have a good support network, a supportive mother, and a good man as well. How important do you think those aspects of your life are when pertaining to creating your works?
Hallie Elizabeth: I have a small support network, as I am a very successful loner, but it’s a stellar support network. I have had a mother that has encouraged my work, which was priceless growing up. And as for my man, he is good and amazing and I am deeply in love. He’s a creative, too. He works in different mediums than myself, but he has an absolutely gorgeous mind and soul. Being able to bounce things off of him and to have him show me the world through his eyes… it’s priceless. It’s one of the best parts of our relationship, honestly.
Urban-Muse.com: What would you say has been your most important and favorite piece of your own personal work thus far? What has been the most popular and successful?
Hallie Elizabeth: That’s so hard to say. There are pieces from different moments in my life that are most important… to reference again, the series where my girls are battered, or the piece I created when my father died. Those types of pieces are the most important pieces to me because they helped me process my sorrow. As for what is most popular… I have no idea. I don’t tend to follow that. It always humbles me when I see my pieces take off on social media.
Urban-Muse.com: What do you do when you encounter haters? People who just want to excessively criticize and pick away at you? How do you deal with those people? What advice can you give the readers about how to deal with situations like that?
Hallie Elizabeth: You know, I have had a lot of people try to tear me down over the years, and it made me very strong and steadfast in my knowledge of who I am. With regards to my art, sure, there are people who have spiteful comments to make. That’s the glory of being a public entity. But they’re talking into the wind, as it were. My advice to anyone being torn down… use it to your advantage. Let it teach you exactly who you are and who you want to be. Do not be defined by anyone else.
Urban-Muse.com: What are your plans for the future? What can we expect from Hallie Elizabeth?
Hallie Elizabeth: More art. More experiences. More love. More beer. My plans are just to be happy, create, and evolve. Those are always my plans.
Urban-Muse.com: Thank you so much Hallie for being a part of this.
Hallie Elizabeth: Thank you! It’s always nice to reflect on my work. This has been an awesome experience.
You can follow Hallie’s work here: