Greta Hahn, third-year art education major, is (hopefully) the newest addition to the New Paltz BFA program. You could pick her work out of a crowd of a thousand paintings; her ability to animate everyday objects will leave you fascinated by her perspective and technical skill.
“In high school, I felt a lot of pressure to master realism, like that was the blueprint of being a good artist,” says Hahn. “If I couldn’t paint something that looked exactly like a person or an object, I wasn’t good at it. I was a perfectionist in all my other classes, breaking my back over the stupidest little projects, and with being diagnosed with general anxiety disorder and other mental health issues, I really used my art to escape my reality. I never really had to try as hard, art just came to me naturally.”
Hahn’s style, which, at first, seems like it is centered around the playful use of color and fictional, wide-eyed creatures, is actually a witful blend of symbolism, surrealism and abstract expressionism.
“Art has the power to show you things subliminally,” says Hahn. “What I like about my art is that the message isn’t so clear, and it leads to other people’s interpretations of it; some people may think very differently about my work than my original intention. I like to make people think.”
Traditionally, Hahn is used to working with either paints and canvas or ink and paper, but recently, absorbing the artistic New Paltz energy like a sponge, she has been working to expand her mediums to print making, installation art, pottery and sculpture.
“I hate being bound to the confines of a canvas, and I think that is what pushed me away from the BFA program originally, is that I would have to major in drawing and painting,” says Hahn. “These past two semesters I have watched my work progress and re-found my passion for my work, plus everyone in my life has been so supportive. I obviously want to represent important topics in the world, but I also do my art for myself.”
In the upcoming weeks, keep an eye out for Hahn’s table at the Thursday market outside the Lecture Center, where she will be selling her printed t-shirt designs. If you just can’t wait, however, check out her Instagram, @gretahahn_art, she is always looking for custom design ideas and commissions!