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Intro, Ines Barroso Interview, Catarina Barroso Words, Debi Hasky

1. Like / Don't Like

I like being awake really early in the morning, when it seems the sun is still asleep. I like my matcha latte and listening to podcasts. I like buying myself flowers after I go to therapy and my plant babies. I like taking walks in chilly, fall, evenings. I like bright colors and patterns. I like smiling and dancing in my bedroom. I like to surround myself with people and things that I like.

I don’t like tomatoes. I don’t like empty conversations. I don’t like bring in big crowds of people.

2. For our followers to know you a little better: Who is Debi Hasky?

My first instinct goes to listing of things that I’ve accomplished, things by which society chooses to define me, but that’s not really who I am, they are just things that I’ve done.

I suppose, what I’d like to share about myself is that, I try to see the light in things, even when everything feels dark. I like to consider myself a kind person. I feel like an imposter many times. I give all of myself to people, sometimes too quickly or to people who maybe don’t deserve it. I’ve had my heart broken many times.

My family is from Panamá and I was born in the USA, and that juxtaposition has brought its own share of complexities which are part of what make me who I am. I am also a really sensitive person, I cry often and it’s something I used to be really ashamed of, but now I carry it like a badge of honor.

It’s always been hard for me to define myself because I’ve never really liked the idea that people are just one thing that you can put into a nice little box. We’re all a compilation of the stories in our lives that make us who we are. How could anyone just be one thing? Hope this makes sense.

3. Tell us about how your career begins. Do you remember when you began to be interested in the issues around mental health, self-esteem and feminism that are so present in some of your work?

I was terribly shy as a kid and drawing gave me a voice before I could ever find my own. Drawing my feelings is what I’ve always known. These topics have been reoccurring in my illustrations because they represent part of the spectrum of the things that I feel.

4. How was your relationship with comics and illustration when you were a child?

I didn’t come to illustration and making comics naturally. I actually didn’t even know that the doodles in my journals were “illustrations”. It wasn’t until I started sharing my work online that I found the language to define what it was that I was making. I learned how to make comics in the past couple of years and enjoy the format when expressing more complex stories or feelings that require a bit more space to share.

When I was a kid, I read everything by Roald Dahl, and fell in love with the illustrations in these books. I always thought I would eventually go into illustrating children’s books. Who knows, maybe that could happen too.

5. What is the creative process from when you have an idea until you start creating? Tell us about how the idea for this exhibition came about and what you want to convey with your creations.

My typical creative process and what I’ve made for this show are actually quite different! This show is the result of finding ways to recover from my depression. In 2020, like so many of us, my mental health was at an all time low and I became depressed. I was seeing my therapist weekly and doing what I could just to get by. In looking for ways to cope with my depression, my therapist gave me some homework: make art for myself. Not for social media, not for work, not to share, but just for me. Part of my depression came from not knowing what I liked to do and not knowing why I even made art at all.

So, I figured, what’s the worst that could happen? And this “homework" took me on a path of trying tons of new mediums, and I discovered how much I enjoyed making punch needle rugs and through playing with clay. I focused solely on making things that brought me joy. I made a list called “Stuff that makes me happy”, and started bringing these objects and things to life.

6. You are opening your first exhibition, "Flow State" at Le Bath Gallery. Tell us about it.

While I was learning how to use new mediums, I was so immersed in what I was doing and so out of my head, I didn't even know what time it was, I just kept playing and was starting to enjoy making stuff for myself. I learned later on that this feeling is called Flow State, and therefore it’s the name of this show. Finding this flow state, stepping out of my comfort zone and making stuff that brings me joy is the ethos of this show.

7. Any other project in hand that you can tell us about? What is the best and the worst of working for and for you?

My next project is to rest. Making this show in the past few months was beautiful, but I also haven’t stopped working, so I feel that I want to take in the summer and focus on taking care of myself for a bit, recharge and see what stems from there.

I think what many of us tend to ignore is that there isn’t a linear path to becoming an artist, illustrator or any type of creative. There are lot of things going on behind the scenes outside of what we share online. For me, I currently work as a full-time designer at a tech company during the day, so I have limited time outside of my 9-5 job to work on my art practice. I would love to one day be able to live and work for myself through making art, but for now this is the path I am on.

Balance is the thing I struggle with the most. It’s a precarious balancing act, taking care of myself along with a full-time job, a freelance job, my relationship and friendships, etc. What I love most about what I do is that I’m always learning new things about myself through art. My practice is morphing into a discovery expedition and I’m really enjoying this at the moment.

8. Finally, In 8 Words, how would you define 8PM & LeBath Gallery? And, would you dedicate us a self-portrait?

Inviting, Loving, Cozy, Experimental, Unique, Open-minded, Kind, Pink!

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