I'm delighted to be featured in VoyageChicago's Thought Provoker series. Here's how I got from healthcare to my creative practice!
VoyageChicago Local Stories
Today we’d like to introduce you to Heather Hancock.
Heather, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
I always say that art chose me. It found me working in healthcare; pouring all my creativity into helping others “live well.” With a Master of Science in communication disorders, I worked first as a speech language pathologist and then as an administrator in physical rehabilitation programs in Chicago hospitals. During my decade-long career in healthcare I came to understand the importance of our physical surroundings to our well-being. I saw how perfectly the natural world engages us. I started to think about how this kind of dynamic and information-rich beauty could be brought into interior spaces.
I encountered ancient glass installations while traveling in Europe. I was immediately captivated by how shimmering glass brings imagery to life. I could start to envision a way to bring bold and unexpected visual experience into interior spaces. And so began my 15-year journey with glass.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
I work with glass to create visual experience. I’m always working to get a 2D art piece to function as a dynamic art object, one that catches light and transforms with a viewer’s movement. The visual experience is infinitely variable.
My inspirations come from everyday moments where the natural world and built world intersect. Alongside the hard lines and repetitive forms of our cityscape, I notice the fluidity and constant transformations in our natural world. These moments fascinate me and I try to re-create them in my work.
Right now, I’m exploring urban form and rhythm abstracted from architecture and text. One series, Reflect, explores urban beauty. Glass is everywhere in our city. It catches light, reflects the sky and animates our streetscapes. Reflect is inspired by this overlooked urban beauty. I think that living well in urban settings requires new ways of seeing beauty and staying connected with the natural world.
What do you think it takes to be successful as an artist?
It’s an exciting time to be developing a creative practice. There’s widespread interest in designing live and work spaces that help people thrive. I’m working with art consultants, designers and architects around the country who see art as a key element in creating compelling spaces. As an interdisciplinary artist drawing on my background in neuroscience I love this interest in art that has both aesthetic and conceptual impact.
I know art has the power to catch our attention, make us think, help us notice everyday moments. Being a participant in that experience is what it’s all about for me as an artist. I define success as engaging a viewer in dialogue with a piece. The visual narrative of my art offers the kind of beauty and engagement that helps us live well in our everyday spaces.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
My work is meant to be experienced in person. It’s hard to capture the vitality of glass in still images. I love having people come by the studio to see work in person. Not only can you see finished pieces and how they interact with light and movement, but I can also give you a look at the engineering behind the work, from substrate and glass to mortar and grout. Studio visits are a great way to see my work and envision a way to incorporate it into your own space.
My website (heatherhancock.com) is a great place to get an overview of my work. I update my blog with new projects. And I post studio updates to Instagram @heatherhancock.art.studio
Address: Evanston, IL