Know Your Local (Artist): Hilary Paige
Visual artist and creative guide, practices what she’s dubbed “flowetry”
What do you do?
In my painting practice I work with ink and mixed media. I create emotive abstract art. So I begin with alcohol ink and then incorporate acrylic ink, which is more viscous and has this incredible push/pull dance with the inks and also allows me to then embed mica flakes. They look like big-kid sparkles.
In my healing practice, I’m an expressive arts therapist, where I guide people in accessing the fullness of their expression and to self-source healing. I regularly host workshops that weave in other modalities alongside exploring the inks. It all happens very organically and it’s so different session to session. Sometimes there’s free writing and poetry or storytelling or movement. I teach, mentor, and support rising artists who are ready to step into their own creative wisdom.
How did you start working with alcohol and acrylic inks?
I began exploring inks at the same time I was in my training to become an expressive arts therapist. The exact time was the first week of lockdown. I always joke with people that it’s my pandemic hobby gone wild, but I really had my eye on it for about a year before seeing all these incredible process videos popping up on my feed. They were just so mesmerizing and enchanting. Honestly if you haven’t seen it, alcohol ink looks like liquid magic. Disney stuff.
When I finally began, I thought it was just another creative modality, another creative expression for me. Nothing unusual because I’ve always considered myself interdisciplinary by nature. But then it was like nothing I had ever experienced. There is this inherent, palpable aliveness and sense of magical animated life-force energy in the medium—, the way it moves on the paper—,that just feels alive and electric and like it had a will of its own.
What’s your approach and philosophy in creating these pieces?
Having been immersed in so much fine art training in my younger years, art became quite serious for a while there. Everything needed meaning and purpose. Bringing playfulness and a little chaos back was a big medicine.
Also, just making and releasing. That’s a really big one. Pulling away before I think I might be done and just putting it out there in the world. There were all of these moving pieces that quickly made me just fall wildly in love with the medium. My inner child was like, “Oh yeah, this is it.”
My philosophy, though. I call it “flowetry.” So like, “flow state” and “poetry” spun together. Where time takes on a different quality, and the density of the air even changes a little bit, and all your senses and extra sensory perceptions are heightened, your intuition is sparked up, the muse is working through you effortlessly. Your heart is unlocked and you’re just swimming in a place of pure possibility and everything feels so open. I believe creativity is our birthright and it lives within all of us like an endless well. And for me, I am always trying to create a safe and stimulating space where people can remember that for themselves, in all of my work.
What inspires you when approaching this work?
I’m very inspired by the microcosmic and the macrocosmic and the way they mirror each other. I’m a huge nerd for all things space. The celestial realms. Galactic wonderlands. The mystery of it all. And I am inspired to make art that feels soulful. And however that might show up for the viewer.
You took part in the Eastside Culture Crawl this year. How was that for you?
It was a professional highlight. The depth of connection was so beautiful, like receiving reflections in such an unfiltered and stream-of-consciousness way, hearing what’s coming up for people in the moment, rather than, you know, in the digital space where everything can be more curated and thought out. It’s all very spontaneous in real life.
There was so much curiosity. I realized that it can take courage to step into an artist’s personal space, to share what they’re feeling. I really cherished some of the moments where people experienced a flood of emotions and allowed me to hold space for that. My cup feels so full! Now I’m ready to introvert hard for a good week.
hilarypaige.ca | Handle: @hilarypaigeart | Studio: 1000 Parker St., studio 350