We had the good fortune of connecting with Billy Hawkins and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Billy, why did you pursue a creative career?
I have been a creative person ever since I was a kid so pursuing one only seemed natural. Drawing was an extremely fun addiction that I spent hours and years cultivating with no real end goal. I got accepted into an art program after high school, but I really committed to being a painter my second year at university. I was surrounded by a really supportive faculty and friends that pushed my artistic development in all aspects personally and professionally. I attended the New york Studio School drawing marathon for a few weeks that really challenged and pushed my love for drawing as the main hub of my practice. I also won the senior painting department award at UNCG that furhter reaffirmed I may be making a good decision to pursue this field aggressively and see where it takes me creatively.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
When creating, I don’t like anything to be off limits. I am open to any medium that can fully express the idea I have via drawing/painting, dance performance, video installation, etc. My work represents my life dealing with identity, sexuality, psychology and my interests visually mainly through portraiture. Lately I have been doing a drawing series of wall installations that include people close to me. I am pretty excited about these drawings becasue it is giving me more stimuli to work with other than self portraiture in intimate spaces conceptually.
I got to where I am today by my own grit, committment to my practice, and curiosity/willingness to learn and try new approaches to art making. I am still far from my final form creatively. Being an artist is an unconventional lifestyle that is highly uncertain, but also extremely rewarding spiritually, and has never been easy. Things come in waves so I’m not always at a high but also being able to remove myself from the creative storm and just trust my intuition and create genuinely has helped me overcome many challenges.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
San Diego is a great vacation spot to relax in. The food is great especially the mexican food. My favorite food truck is Mariscos La Morena ( get the quesabirria taco.) Can’t forget the famous tacos el gordo adobada fries. I also enjoy Kogi KBBQ and New Maxim chinese restaurant. San Diego is really big on beer and has a brewery on just about every corner. Kairoa brewery is a beautiful rooftop place on park blvd. If you are into sun and surf there are some great beaches here such as Black’s Beach which is a really popular and beautiful beach. It is also one of the largest nude beaches in the United States.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would say one of my professors I was really close to, Jennifer Meanley ( Painting faculty at University North Carolina Greensboro), was extremely pivotal in my artistic practice. She saw something in myself and my artwork and mentored me in different ways of creating and thinking as a visual artist. The painting faculty was also not shy about calling out any b.s. that was not up to my potentional with art making and I am pretty thankful for that. Also anyone who has ever bought a piece/print, came to my shows, or supported me in any fashion deserves all the recognition. I probably would have given up ages ago if it was not for the kind words and encouragement.