Featured Artist - Emily Hauck 

At Calypso we publish cards by artists from all over the world – tell us where you grew up and where you live and work. 
I was born in the Northwest of England and grew up in a small mill town on the edge of the Pennine Hills & Peak District. My grandparents are of Central European heritage and like a few of the families in the town they were invited to the UK to work in the Manchester cotton factories of the 1950’s. After school I studied at Manchester Metropolitan University and was fortunate to then travel the world. When I returned, I moved to South Manchester where I now live with my husband and two children.

What is your work environment like, do you have a home studio? An ocean view? What sort of music do you like to listen to while you work? 
I work in a home studio which I am planning to move and expand in the coming year. I will miss my current view out over the rooftops of the terracotta brick townhouses where I regularly see rainbows through the famous Manchester rain. In the studio I listen to podcasts to keep up with the latest cultural news. When I am designing, I prefer to listen to something musically creative but not too brash which might distract from the design process. Little Dragon & Kate Bush are my favorites. 

How is your day structured as a working artist? 
I tend to work on the tasks and admin early in the day so that I have pressure free time in the afternoon or evening to work more creatively. For me it is important to visit the shows for the latest in greeting cards and to catch up with colleagues, the feedback informs my work. I regularly update my online portfolio and enjoy writing the Karika Journal where I share my most recent releases. I will make time to post on Instagram too.

How did you begin your career as an artist? 
I studied Interactive Arts at University which is focused on installation style fine artwork. This might not seem like it matches up with my current role which is largely 2D and paper based but I use daily the creative theory I learnt there particularly when it comes to project management and the different types of creative thinking required at each stage. Whilst at university and afterwards I had jobs which have been really helpful to my role as a freelance artist. I worked at a commercial art gallery where I learnt much about the business of art. Another fun job was at a props company. Some customers were from TV companies, but I was always drawn to the freelance interior designers, stylists and photographers who gave me a sense of what the freelance world might look like for me. Fast forward to today and I can see these early experiences were really influential. 

What was your first big success as an artist? 
My first big success was selling my final degree show piece which gave me the money I needed to book flights to travel the world. Later in my early years of designing cards the greeting card ranges from my time at Belly Button Designs - Platinum & Paloma - winning Henries Awards was a great achievement. 

What inspires your work? 
I gain inspiration from many places for my work. I am fortunate to live in a vibrant part of Manchester with a diverse culture here to draw on - independent boutiques, art shops, with a friendly eco-conscious neighborhood full of families, artists, and academics. Often there is an idea in the air here. Shortly after I drew the skateboarding Cobalt card my son took it up as a hobby by the new urban park in the city then later that year so did my husband after which skateboarding Dad was the theme for that year’s Christmas John Lewis advert – this is one of the big department stores in the UK and its Christmas ad campaign is now a big cultural event here. Looking more specifically at the Calypso collection of Cobalt there are designs like the skis which I drew after a visit to my cousins in Innsbruck, Austria who love skiing and have a beautiful view of the Alps from their balcony. The beach illustration is from a memory I have of trying to learn how to surf with mixed success in Byron Bay, Australia some time ago. 

Are there other artists that inspire you? 
I am a big fan of Grayson Perry and eagerly visited the first Art Club exhibition at the Manchester Art Gallery. I follow the work of Ai Weiwei, his piece about the importance of a thoughtful note sent on a postcard and what an impact that can have really resonated with me. Another artist I always have time for is Kusama, I loved her infinity room at the Tate Modern and am hugely looking forward to her upcoming exhibit at the Manchester International Biennial in July. 

What is your earliest memory of creating art? 
In talking about my earliest memories of creating art I need to mention another artist, my mom, Angelika Hauck, who has exhibited work around the world. She had me drawing in her studio from a young age. I was often happily enrolled on art courses from animation and embroidery to batik. As a teenager I was very familiar with the university campus in the Yorkshire Sculpture Park (with its unusual mix of sheep and art) where Mom used to teach Fine Art students. I would go for the day, visit the studios then wander the park drawing & painting while she lectured. 

What is your favorite medium? 
 I don’t have a favorite medium as such but I do very much appreciate the Cmd+Z Undo function that digital art gives! Composition is key so I spend a lot of time sketching out ideas in ink where I establish the main concept of the card. I will then recreate these digitally using photographed textures and painted elements. Paper is a passion of mine, I enjoyed early on in my career a trip to a heritage paper mill, Cropper’s, in the Lake District who make one of my favorite paper stocks. It was amazing to see a fabulous resource being made on a large scale having only seen my own small handmade efforts at home. 

How has your style changed over time? 
When I first began drawing it was photorealistic, technically perfect. My later work is much more relaxed and poetic, but that technical knowledge usefully informs me where the light should fall and how the lines need to flow to convey recognizable form & shape. 

Of all the cards we publish by you, do you have a favorite? 
My favorite design of the Calypso collection would be the "Hammock" as that is how I like to enjoy my time off with my family, a sunny day in the garden under the trees, relaxing, sipping a cool long drink.

Click here to see Emily's entire collection with Calypso Cards.