Q&A With Hilary Greenstein
Hilary is a fine artist based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She received her BFA in Drawing and Painting from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design in 2013. You may have seen her paintings at Gamut Gallery, Glam Doll Donuts, Rosalux Gallery, or Hopkins Center for the Arts. She paints in studio 206A of the California Building, and opens her studio to the public for Art-a-Whirl.
Q: Why is living tobacco-free important to you?
I've actually never smoked a cigarette. I'm queer and I'm an artist, so they're everywhere. But they never appealed to me. Everyone's got their vices I know, like I will eat a pint of ice cream like it's nothing... and okay I'm kind of a wine mom. But it's important to me to be very intentional with what I put in my body, like I haven't had meat in 20 years.
Q: How do you know when a work is finished?
I step away from it for a few days. I work on other paintings, I get Taco Bell, I buy more plants. I come back and look at it with fresh eyes and then I'll know for sure.
Q: What elements inspires you and your work?
Found photos, memoirs, podcasts, pastels, patterns, conversations, and old postcards
Q: What is your most important tool? Is there something you can’t live without in your studio?
I definitely can't live without something to listen to music and podcasts while I paint. I listen to a lot of My Favorite Murder. Also, studio snacks are very important. I once ate all my studiomate's Twizzlers because I'm a monster.
Q: What mediums do you enjoy working with most? Why?
I love using latex paint (house paint) as a base and building oil paint on top of that, also incorporating oil pastel and collage elements. I love how the latex paint is a flat matte that sits behind the oils, and collage allows me to further play with surface.
Q: How did you start making art?
I always made art as a kid, I just never stopped.
Q: Why do you make art?
I can't think of a better way to spend my day. I'm a Scorpio. I can't stop.
Q: What themes do you pursue?
I love exploring the boundaries between reality and fiction, care and harm, and self and other.
Q: What's the last artwork you purchased for yourself?
Two amazing patterned paintings by Leanna Perry, who went to MCAD with me.
Q: What's the first artwork you ever sold?
I'm pretty sure it was a commissioned piece in college of a Brooklyn apartment building facade?
Q: What do you like about your work?
I like surprising myself.
Q: What is your dream job if you could choose anything?
My current job, can you believe it? When I'm not painting I am a teaching artist for preschoolers at Urban Arts Academy. Making art with kids everyday is the best thing. They call me Miss Hilary and they love Yayoi Kusama.
Q: Name three artists you are inspired by.
Marlene Dumas, Monica Garza, Maureen Gubia. Lots of M names I guess.
Q: What message do you try to communicate through your work?
I work with figures in dreamlike spaces to create ambiguous narratives.