Can you tell me a little about what your background is?
I’m a native Texan and have been in Utah for a little over 10 years. There are several creatives in my family, so it’s always been a part of me in one way or another. I have a Bachelors and Masters in Sociology and “bleed maroon” as a Texas Aggie. I’ve been fortunate to have diverse experiences over my 10+ year career and work in Inside Sales at Adobe. Last year, I launched Papillon Skies to share and promote my artwork. It’s been a fun journey and one of my favorite surprises that 2020 held for me.
Love the Journey, digital art print – Andrea G. Hardeman
What are some of your favorite experiences as an artist?
I’m continually in awe that people connect with my art and have it hanging in their homes. It started as a way to deal with the uncertainties wrought by COVID-19, deep polarization within U.S. politics, ongoing BLM protests, fearing my personal safety as a black person in Utah, and the isolation from social distancing. Each art piece has a piece of me in it. I share the stories and vulnerability behind my art on my website and include them with purchased art. People feeling seen within my art is humbling and surreal.
Youth have a special place in my heart, and it’s been a privilege to inspire and encourage young artists. One young girl, in particular, stands out. She came with her family to my farmer’s market booth and was captivated by several of my pieces. She told me how much she loved my art and kept stealing glances at my art as she walked around the market. There was something about her. I found her before she left and gave her one of the mini originals I had at my booth.
say their names, digital art print – Andrea G. Hardeman
How did 2020 affect artworks you have created or plan on creating?
Before 2020, I hadn’t drawn or painted in years. The culmination of the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd along with the triggered generational trauma within the African American and black community broke me. I wrote two poems to work through everything I was feeling, but it was too overwhelming to continue to express myself with the pen. I turned to painting as an abstract way to process it all.
A friend texted me about the Breonna Taylor verdict, heartbroken. It was late in the evening, for me at least, but I stayed up and created “say their names” immediately after hearing the news. I had been taking a break from social media and the news to recenter and breathe. I created over 50 artworks within 6 months that year. 2020 was a lot for everyone, and I’m grateful that art came back into my life when it did.
Generations, mixed media print – Andrea G. Hardeman
What do you feel is one of your most significant works of art?
“Generations” is one of the first pieces I created last year. The idea stemmed from a realization I had a couple years ago while doing my nightly face wash routine. I paused and looked down at the cotton ball soaking up toner. It hit me that I was holding a ball of cotton. The same cotton that my slave ancestors picked. The cotton and textile industries among other crops for which the slave trade and subservience of black people was codified into the U.S. Constitution and into laws of the land. I exist in America because of white slave traders and the Capitalistic advantage slavery gave the Southern States and the U.S. in general. The cotton swabs represent each generation of my family that I can trace. I am the 7th generation. The future is uncertain and my past is unknown because my ancestors weren’t thought to be human. They were viewed as mere beasts of labor meant to serve and produce–soulless black devils that need to be subdued. My direct past is lost without purchase receipts.
Klimt, acrylic print – Andrea G. Hardeman
What would you say to audiences or organizations that seek to support you?
You can support me as an artist by sharing my art and the stories behind them with others (and purchasing a piece that resonates with you). I’d love to partner and connect, socially distanced of course. My goal is to help others feel seen and not alone. Give the gift art and help me spread more light, love, and positivity because the world will always benefit from receiving a bit more.
Les danseurs noirs 1, mixed media print – Andrea G. Hardeman
How can someone find and connect with you and your work?
You can check out my website and find me on Instagram and Facebook. My art is featured at Urban Arts Gallery in Salt Lake City, and you can find the farmer’s markets and pop up shops I’m participating in on my website under News & Events.
Website – https://www.papillonskies.com/
Email – email@example.com
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/papillonskies/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/papillonskiesart
NowPlayingUtah Artist Profile – https://www.nowplayingutah.com/artist/andrea-hardeman/
In Utah, there is a rich cultural landscape that is thriving, yet seldom seen and experienced. Take a few minutes to relax and connect with local artists all across Utah. Hear their most rewarding experiences, the struggles they face, and what inspires them to create their art.