Gina Mei
March 06, 2015 7:00 am

Shawnee Hill grew up in Finger Lakes, NY, where her grandmother’s porcelain doll business and sculpture studio sparked her interest in drawing figures and portraits at a young age — and we’re so very glad it did. Since then, the Pratt Institute grad has been making some downright gorgeous work, and has even showed her stuff at Comic Con International. Shawnee’s art is witchy and magical and beautiful, and we can’t get enough of it; which is why she’s our Illustrator of the Week!

Find out more about the Rochester-based illustrator and her art below, and buy some of her exclusive-to-HelloGiggles phone cases by clicking right here.

No pressure, but describe your art: I would consider my art a mix of dark and ethereal elements and figures. I have, for the most part, used very limited color palettes until recently. I mostly draw and paint stylized portraiture/figures.

What inspires you to make things: I am musically fueled, and most of the time my work happens very organically. I don’t use direct references, but my ideas flow from a memory bank of images and designs, or thing that I thought were interesting. So, I would say that my environments and what I am listening to are where I pull my inspirations from when I get started on a new piece.

Your favorite thing(s) to draw: Figures and portraiture, but specifically hair. I could draw hair for days — it’s cathartic to draw line forms and volume while zoning out.

Medium of choice: Pencil and ink (black art pens or white ink with a small paint brush); and more recently, spray cans.

The first time you knew you wanted to be an artist:  I fell in love with creating things, I think, mainly from seeing my grandmother work in clay in her studio. I grew up in my grandmother’s sculpture studio. She made porcelain dolls for a living, and I would accompany her to Doll and Teddy Bear Expos in Washington DC every year. It was inspiring to see someone successfully make a career out of doing something that brought them so much joy.

Proudest achievement so far: Being a featured muralist for Wall Therapy in Rochester, NY, and being able to bring my grandmother and my niece, Erin (the mural was named after her, “Eveningstar”), to see my biggest accomplishment in progress.  My niece is 10 and is following the same artistic path I learned from my grandmother. It was a very full circle kind of moment.

Music you listen to while you work: A wide range. Some on regular rotation are The Knife/Fever Ray, Cat Power, Y La Bamba, Depeche Mode, Deftones, and various classical musicians.

Your most prized possession: A voicemail clip I have from my mother the day before she passed away.

Your personal hero: My grandmother — she was such a huge influence and managed to be a successful artist and take care of her family.

The last thing to make you giggle: Watching our housemates’ dog Lucy be a goofball.

Current project(s): I am currently working on some upcoming mural ideas, as well as working on a special piece for an upcoming WXXI Rochester fundraiser. I take part in many group shows throughout the year and the occasional craft show and commission.

Check out Shawnee’s amazing phone cases via Casetify—they’re an exclusive partnership with HelloGiggles! For more of her work, check out her websiteInstagram, and Twitter.

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