Hannah Gaskins Pabon invited me to visit her home in Ardmore as she worked on her newest painting. Her easel was set in a nook off the kitchen with her cat perched in a windowsill close by and her house was peaceful and bright, with many her own colorful paintings displayed on the walls. She had already sketched the groundwork for this piece with acrylic paint and was getting ready to add oils, which she explained can be a bit nerve-wracking (they’re more expensive, mistakes are harder to fix, and they take so much longer to dry), but their deep colors pile up into thick layers and give life to the painting.
Hannah comes from a family with strong creative roots–her grandfather was the leader of a boogaloo band in the Bronx well remembered for the song I Like It Like That. Growing up, it was music and theater, she said, but not really painting. Hannah only found her talent for painting her senior year in high school when a teacher assigned an art project and she remembers being really surprised at the quality of her own work. Though she had considered a future in psychology, Hannah now leaned in to painting and pursued a degree in Studio Arts at UNC Wilmington.
Now she finds herself back at home in Winston, taking it slow when many of her peers are going quickly into careers. Last year she was offered a teaching role at a nearby preschool, a job whose flexible schedule would allow time for painting, and Hannah fell into her role in the classroom beautifully. What an amazing experience for the children in the preschool to benefit from her knowledge, but Hannah says she learns just as much from the preschoolers and their uninhibited creativity.
This is such an exciting time in her blooming career as an artist. The Ardmore Art Walk this past spring allowed her to show her paintings and line drawings as well as make connections with other artists, and she recently was selected as an emerging artist by Artfolios, a locally curated online art gallery. Hannah’s commitment to a creative life may have felt risky, but is quickly gaining roots with enthusiastic support from her family and the community in our City of Arts & Innovation.
July 15, 2021