Profile: Hanna Shim

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We are shining the spotlight on Hanna from our Creative Services team in today’s blog. As a Junior Graphic Designer, Hanna brings our stories to life through her creativity and visual skills. Outside of work, Hanna is an artist, graphic designer, and photographer who recently had her sculptures displayed at Cordis Hotel for Auckland Art Week. We chat to her about her art, the meaning behind her headless animal sculptures, and what inspires her.

Hi Hanna! Can you tell us more about yourself and your role at IAG?

I’m a Junior Graphic Designer from the Creative Services team. I help give visual solutions to our IAG brands across different areas. I think a little infusion of creativity really brings life to valuable content!

I’ve been with IAG for almost a year now. Before that, I was in completely different field, far from insurance and the corporate world.

We love the recent installation you created that was displayed at Cordis Hotel! Why did you choose mushrooms for the artwork? Can you tell us more about the piece?

I created those mushrooms back in 2017 for my solo exhibition at Whitespace gallery in Ponsonby. My art practice always contains some kind of contradiction and twist. I think I was drawn to mushrooms because of their naive appearances with a sinister undertone.
The mushroom installation at Cordis is called ‘Lost in the forest’. It narrates a story (written by me) about a life wanderer — which depicts the agony as an artist and being alienated from the world’s notion of success.

The way the sculpture has been installed is suggesting viewers to perambulate around the objects. Observing and experiencing – almost offers a short-term meditation or escapism from the reality. This allows the viewers to have a chance to stop and find themselves in their own forests – to see themselves from a third person point of view, while the contemporary lifestyle imposes rushing and fast-paced situations on people.
Showing my work in Cordis was a great opportunity for me. It was one of the event for Auckland Art Week, and I get so excited to see how people react to unexpected art piece in public.

If anyone interested in art and don’t know where to start, I recommend to look up Late Night Art!

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What inspires you?

I get inspirations from stories, tales, diaries, moments, relationships, situations, memories, spaces and so on. Yes, I’m talking about everything! But my biggest influence is definitely my mother. She’s always been a crafty lady as well as great supporter of my art practices. As you can see most of my artworks are made of fabrics. She taught me how to sew, how to make patterns, and how to use tools. Even now, every time I get stuck I ask her for tips!

What’s next for you? Any other exhibitions or work coming up?

Next year in March, I’m looking forward to do my first exhibition in South Island. I want to produce an installation piece that embraces graphic design & art.

The biggest difference between art & design for me is the existence of target audience. Art can speak to themselves but design requires target audiences. I guess I started thinking more strategically about the customer experience side of Fine Art!

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What’s your favourite piece of art work?

Among mine? or other artists’? Well, let me answer both.

My all-time favourite artist is Francis Upritchard. She’s a New Zealander now based in London. She makes quirky little human sculptures!
Among mine would have to be Jack the kiwifruit horse, 2011. This is my first soft sculpture as well as the first headless animal. Back in 2011, I was having an identity crisis. End up making this headless series, which means ‘multiple identities make no identity’.

See more of Hanna’s art here.

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