GHERDAI HASSELL

@HASSEL_FREE

“Rest as Resistance” to the concept of capitalism. Capitalist societies teach us that we must measure our days by how productive rather than present we are. Rest as resistance is my personal mantra at the moment.  I’ve been sleeping in, reading for leisure, writing in my journal, doing yoga, taking walks, soaking in the tub, meditating and taking my time making new artworks a whole lot more recently. - Just Being is enough. We are enough. Let’s all say fuck the rat race, it’s a slow path to insanity and feeling unfulfilled.”

  • INTERVIEW


     

     
    First question, what is your Instagram handle?

     

    @hassell_free

     

    Tell me the story behind this?

     

    My last name is Hassell. And whenever hear the word Hassell, they think of the word Hassle, which means inconvenience or problem. So I wanted to take back this meaning and place a different meaning on it, Hassell_free which literally means problem-free. meaning walking in your purpose. One of my slogans is Live Hassell Free.

     

    Quick one, what 3 words would you use to describe your artwork?

     

    Fun, bold, Raw,

     

    Tell me about your artist story. How were you trained? Tell me about your journey to where you are now?

     

    I always wanted to be an artist but never really believed that I could. Where I’m from in Bermuda, which is very corporate, it was hard to see that choosing a career as an artist will be fruitful or even possible. I went to Law school, and ended up leaving to pursue my dream of being an artist. I packed up and moved to China. Started traveling to find inspiration to make art, set up a studio, and got busy. 4 years later, I’m currently a masters student at the China Academy of art studying contemporary art.

     

    What is your studio like? Where do you like to create best? What are your artist necessities? What could you not live without?

     

    My studio is my favorite place to be, it’s where the magic happens. I can experiment, hang out and be myself there. Since living in China Chinese calligraphy inks have become my favorite medium to use. I use them to make my collages. My artist necessities are a snack, my paint brushes, my iPad and wine !

     

     
    What do you listen to while you work?

     

    I listen to lots of Jazz and Neo-soul music. Sometimes I listen to audiobooks. But soulful music is my favourite.

     

    What do you want your work to say? What are the main themes and motifs running through your work? Is there a narrative that runs throughout?

     

    My work is very much so inspired by my life. I try always to draw a direct line from my life to my work. My experiences inform my subject manner. I make collages that are inspired by black women. The collages which I call alibiis are symbols of bold, self-confident and joyous women. They’re meant to serve as a reminder that we’re badass and WHOLE, whenever we forget.

     

    Tell me about your use of mixed media? How do you create your work? What is your process?

     

    The materials that I use are an exploration of self as an exploration of materials. I use bold colors, paper, paint, sequins, calligraphy inks And fabric. My process is very experimental. Many of the works I’ve created are spontaneous. They unfold as I make them. So it’s a very meditative process. It’s less about the finished product and more about the presence I have whilst making the work. I think when I allow time and space for the work to tell me what it wants to be, the finished product is exactly what it was meant to be.

     

     

    You curate for the fabulous account @artiffacts, and work on the podcast for @theartaffects. These are such incredible accounts. Can you tell us a bit more about them and what your role is there?

     

    The Artiffacts project page is inspired by my family tree. Last year I found a family tree that my uncle did the research for. The family tree connects 8 generations from Bermuda to a tribe in Africa. This information is hard to come by because of the complexities of the slave trade and the lack of official records. It took my uncle 8 years to do the research. I went to the archives in Bermuda to find more information and came across old black and white photos of Afro Bermudians. Seeing these photos inspired me to begin collecting vintage photos of people throughout the African diaspora. I started thinking about how the photos existing in digital space give nether, new life and vitality. And so I digitally edited them, creating new public monuments.

     

    I am the Host of Art Affects, a podcast dedicated to the amplification of voices of Artists of the African diaspora. I’m inspired by other artists, their lives and their work. Now we spend little time with people connecting on a deeper level, so I wanted to use the podcast to offer time and space to get to know the artists behind the work and it more. Whilst offering them a platform to get their message out.

     

     

    Tell me about your palette. Is colour important to you?

     

    Color is extremely important. I am inspired by the colors I grew up with. Every house in Bermuda is a different color, blue skies and waters and pink beaches. It’s hard not to be influenced by the vibrancy around you, growing up in a place like that. so I employ the same color pops that have been in my life , all of my life, into my work.

     

    Tell me about your use of scale? And how you decide a work is complete and requires no more work?

     

    I love working big, I feel like scale plays a huge role in the impact of the artwork. My message is bold, and so I think that goes hand in hand with the scale I prefer to use.

    It’s a feeling, that comes over me. I know sits done when the work tells me so.

     

    How do you think your work has developed throughout your career?

     

    My work has become more intentional. I realize I have a platform as an artist, so I like to embed within the work, messages I feel are important. When I first started making work, it was for myself. Now the work has grown and I make it with my audience in mind. It’s become bigger than me, I’m just the messenger.

     

    What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?

     

    That I’m an introvert!

     

    Favourite historical female artist?

     

    Faith Ringgold

     

    Favourite current practicing female artist?

     

    Njideka Crosby

     

    Who should She Curates interview next?

    Jayde Gibbons, she’s a photographer based in Bermuda