Name: Zoe Hawk
Current Location: Doha, Qatar
What did you want to be when you grew up? An artist, ballerina, and mom
What are you now? An artist and art instructor
How did you get to this point? I grew up with an artist for a father, and a mother who loves literature and classic movies, so to me it’s no surprise that I ended up doing something that is both visual and tells a story. I ended up living in Qatar because my husband got a teaching job at Virginia Commonwealth University’s art campus here in
Do you get paid doing what you love? Often you end up actually paying more in than you make as a visual artist, in application fees, shipping work to galleries, material costs, etc. But when someone does finally buy a painting, it is a gratifying moment.
What are you currently working on? I just finished a series of new paintings while I was an artist-in- residence at the Doha Fire Station. It’s a residency program in Qatar that brings together artists from different disciplines and nationalities, gives each a studio for 9 months, and culminates in a group exhibition.
What are you reading? I just finished reading Florence & Giles by John Harding, a novel inspired by The Turn of the Screw (one of my all-time favorites), and recently started The Bad Seed by William March. I love the 1956 film adaptation and have been
meaning to read the book for a while now.
How do you express yourself creatively? Painting, drawing, and printmaking.
Have you ever written a fan letter? I wrote a fan letter to Morrissey as part of a high school project (I was obsessed with The Smiths as a teenager). I received no reply, unfortunately.
Drink of choice? Here in Qatar, my drink of choice is karak. It’s a strong, sweet, milky tea flavored with cardamom and ginger.
Who inspires you and why? Artistically I am most inspired by the mid-century women Surrealist painters, like Leonora Carrington, Remedios Varo, and Dorothea Tanning. In
contrast to the dominant painting tradition—male artists objectifying women’s bodies and depicting them as passive— they imbued their female figures with power, depth, and mystery.
What is a tool you rely on to stay productive? I rely on my set of gouache paints for making tiny sketches before I start a painting. It lets me work out my ideas, as well as things like color and composition, before committing to a final painting.
What is something you learned this year? During my nine months working as an artist-in- residence at the Doha Fire Station, I have met many new people from different places, and have learned a lot about their backgrounds and artistic processes. One artist showed us how she makes her Islamic designs using a drawing compass; another told us
about the cautionary folk tales she learned growing up in Qatar, which is
what her sculptures are based on.
Where can we find you? My website, zoehawk.com, and my Instagram @zoe.hawk