Artist Highlight: Crochet Painter, Hyero
Welcome, I am Hyero /ˈhirō/ - the y is silent.
We got the opportunity to have an exclusive interview with one of our favorite artists, Hyero. Hyero is an artist based in Chicago and her work consists of pen and ink, acrylic paint, and crotchet. In this interview you will get a look into Hyero’s background as an artist and why she creates the artwork that she does today.
Where are you from and how does that affect your work?
I’m from a Philadelphia suburb named Abington PA. Growing up there taught me how to face adversity. Abington is a predominantly white community despite its reputation for diversity. Their high school mascot is a “Galloping Ghost” a person riding a horse with a sheet over their head, and every day the community is being more and more gentrified a lot of my family have owned their homes for 20- 50 years there and they are constantly trying to be bought out or scared out of the community.
What’s the purpose or goal of your work?
The purpose of my work is to make art for art's sake. Being born a woman of color my existence is already bold, political, and intimidating whether I like it or not. As a woman of color I don’t get the luxury of just drawing a flower and others seeing it as just a flower, at least one person will see it as a symbol for my ancestors being deflowered. I make art for myself and people like me. I'm aware of the platform I was given at birth and I am going to use it.
Who or what are your biggest influences?
My biggest influences would be the artists Aaron McGruder, the creator of Boondocks and Ernie Barnes, the artist most famously known for his art on Good Times. Aaron McGruder was able to create a political, thought provoking yet comical comic strip that was made for a black audience and was able to infiltrate the predominately white world of newspaper comic strips as well as maintaining his platform to create a popular unmatched tv show. He also maintained his integrity while creating the show by not bending to the networks heavy demands for quick content rather than quality content. Ernie Barnes was a very versatile man; he was a pro football player even though being an artist was his passion. He created a job for himself as being the painter for the nfl. He showed black people in their element he was a voice of a culture without representation. I want my art to have a powerful message that speaks like Aaron and to live in my truth like Ernie.
What inspired you to start creating your artwork?
I started adding crochet to my paintings because crocheting for me was always a labor of love and I wanted to add that love to my paintings.
Is there something you do today that you wish you had known to do years ago?
I wish I would have started selling my art years ago. I always had that knowing that I was a talented artist but I was discouraged to put a price tag on my product. Also there were many people in my pathway that discouraged pursuing art as a career, including art teachers. I now realize the starving artist troupe is not real unless you let it be. You just have to set goals for yourself of how you want to sell your art because it’s very possible, even easy with the right product and mindset.
Describe your dream project.
My dream project would be to host my own art competition show called “Mixed.” I would have mixed media artists across the country together and give them a platform and resources to further their career whether they win the show or not.
Follow Hyero on Instagram.
Check out her website iamhyero.com.