Meet the Maker - Nadia Hassan
Meet Nadia Hassan. The pattern-obsessed artist and illustrator who brought our new fave print Rossi Pomodori to life. Nadia is inspired by everything all the time, especially the moments in everyday life where the mundane meets the serendipitous. Her playful, investigative spirit guides her process, and each day she looks forward to discovering where the limitless possibilities will lead. She was nice enough to chat all things art, design and career with us. Let's jump into it!
Q. How would you describe your artwork to someone who’d never seen it?
A. My artwork spans a range of media and subject matter, but it is almost always colorful and playful, with a flat, graphic look that is a dead giveaway of my training as a designer.
Q. What do you hope people get from your artwork?
A. My artwork is driven by the pleasure I get from making it, which comes from the freedom and discovery of the creative process. I hope that sense of pleasure is passed on to the viewer in some form.
Q. Can you describe your personal home decorating style?
A. I mostly decorate with houseplants—I have just under 100 as of this writing! Otherwise I decorate like a sophisticated five year old, with pops of primary and pastel colors set against white or wood tones. I am hopelessly attracted to quirky thrift store finds, so I have collected quite a few over the years (my favorite is a needlepoint pillow of a unicorn with a rainbow mane). I try to keep things in the “Goldilocks zone” between minimal and maximal, though I LOVE looking at rooms with a maximal decor approach. Most importantly, in order to earn a spot in my home, an object must have presence, as judged by my subjective and evolving taste, haha.
Q. What’s your favourite item at home/your most treasured possession (functional or decorative)?
A. My most treasured possession is my collection of “magpie journals,” which are notebooks filled with what might generously be called ephemera, though some of it veers closer to plain old trash. I don’t keep a traditional diary or journal, but by preserving little snippets of my day-to-day life, I am left with a visual record of my experiences that is surprisingly potent in its ability to conjure vivid memories. Also, they’re just really fun to look at.
Q. What (other than art) are you passionate about, and can you tell us a bit about it?
A. This may be the nerdiest thing I have ever said, but I am really passionate about organizing spaces! If I had to switch careers, I would be a professional organizer. There’s a book called The Extended Mind: The Power of Thinking Outside the Brain by Annie Murphy Paul that beautifully illuminates the science behind what I have always intuitively known to be true, which is this: Our brains do not have limitless processing power—when we optimize our environments for the tasks we need to accomplish, we free up our brains for deeper and more creative thinking. In turn, we can learn, discover, build, imagine, make and DO more. Understandably, many people think of organizing as merely decluttering, or something that is nice to do if you have the time or need to impress your in-laws around the holidays, but it’s an extremely powerful and potentially life-changing tool we have at our disposal.
Q. What’s your favourite quote or saying?
A. If it doesn’t go with anything, it goes with everything :)
Q. Something I have a particular interest in is human resilience - Can you tell us about a challenge in your life that turned out to be a blessing?
A. I was a child of mixed ethnicity with divorced parents growing up poor in a rural area of the Southeastern United States. My life involved a lot of straddling and navigating opposite worlds, without wholly belonging to either (poverty and affluence, rural and urban, highly educated and not, white and non-white, functional and dysfunctional families, and so on). It was not the easiest or most comfortable upbringing, but I honestly wouldn’t change any of it. So much of my creativity, resilience, confidence, curiosity and open-mindedness came from the experience of trying to make sense of conflicting realities. It was excellent preparation for life in a beautifully complicated world.