Hana Shafi AKA Frizz Kid

:: AGE

22

:: LOCATION

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

:: MEDIUM

Pen, watercolour, digital

:: IDENTIFIES AS

Indo-Persian feminist

How do you define art?

I define art as creation. When you create something, you’re making art of some sort.

What does art mean to you?

Art, to me, means liberation. It means resistance. It means therapy. It means healing.

As a womxn of color, why do you think it is important to create?

Speaking as a womxn of colour, it’s so important for me to create, because it’s my way of speaking out and taking up space in a society that often tells me, and womxn like me, to be quiet and shrink ourselves and take up as little space as possible.

What or who keeps you inspired?

So many things. The people I surround myself with inspire me everyday. And I’m inspired by other artists and seeing their creative spirit. I’m inspired by the art I engage with; music, film, visual arts. All of it fuels me.

What has been your proudest moment as an artist/creative?

I can’t think of a singular moment really, but every time someone reaches out and sends me a message of support, it definitely makes me feel proud of myself that I’ve managed to create something that someone can deeply connect with.

How do you define love?

Love is breathing really. It’s a natural thing. People associate it with romance, but it doesn’t have to be romantic. It’s just about connecting with people, forming bonds, and valuing others.

What is the space that you like to create in?

I’m either cooped up in my room or at a coffee shop. I like working around people usually, there’s something really pleasant about that. But sometimes if I’m feeling grumpy or annoyed, I hole myself up in my room like it’s my fortress and just dive right into something.

What do you like to listen to while you create?

A few artists that immediately come to mind are Le Tigre, FKA Twigs, The Smiths, Massive Attack, Mazzy Star, Lauryn Hill, The Cranberries, Mykki Blanco.  

What do you do with art that you aren’t particularly fond of?

I mainly get frustrated and then add more details thinking that will make it better and then end up hating it more. Hahaha. Sometimes I’ll go back to it and see if I can fix it.

How do you make time to create?

I try to create deadlines for myself. With the positive affirmation pieces I do, I tell people that they’ll come out every Friday and Monday. So I feel the need to deliver on those days. For other pieces, I try to use them as a way to de-stress or treat myself.

What’s your earliest memory of making art?

I remember making art as a little kid, I would glue these sparkly pom pom balls everywhere, hahaha. I remember my mom putting me in a day camp where they taught dance and had an art class. The teacher gave us clay and I always wanted to make morbid things like skulls. Sparkles or skulls haha, I was always running between two extremes. Which is actually still the case with my current art.

Do you have any words of advice for young artist/creators out there?

Value yourself. Don’t look down your own work. It’s easier said than done, but your art is valuable. Your contributions are valuable.

Do you have any advice for people who want to crete but are scared to/ doubt themselves/ haven’t created in awhile/ have competing priorities?

Try to see it as a form of therapy that you give to yourself. If you perceive it as a de-stressing activity rather than this huge challenge, then it gets easier to just put your body and soul into the art. It’s cathartic, so let yourself experience that emotional journey.

Who is a fellow artist/creative who inspires you?

I could probably go on about this for a while, but I’m going to say Frida Kahlo and Maya Deren. Kahlo’s work helped me realize that there’s nothing wrong with inserting yourself in your art and making it an extension of yourself. And Deren’s surrealist films are something that have always both frightened and intrigued. They are absolutely hypnotic. Both Kahlo and Deren are also badass leftist womxn, so both their art and their politics are important to me.

What do you think are some ways/one way to strengthen/celebrate the community of womxn who are artists/creatives?

Support each other. Be kind to one another. A lot of things can be done with kindness. It sounds a bit cheesy, I know, but I think people always want us to be in a perpetual state of competition with one another and that can get very toxic. Kindness and solidarity is the way to go.

What message are you sending with your art?

There are many messages I send. I guess with my positive affirmation pieces, it’s that your healing is your own and you are worthy. And with my pen drawings, which are often quite intense and sometimes scary (again, I’m always in two extremes hahah), the message is just more that if you’re an absolute weirdo, you’re not alone. I’m an absolute weirdo too.

If you have a daughter what would you want her to know about you at this stage in your life?

I would want her to know that even though I’m struggling right now and that life can sometimes get really scary and terribly uncertain, that I’m persevering because I know I’m worth it.

Dear Hana, thank you for sharing your creative spirit with us. And thank you for reminding us that it’s badass to be weird.