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Rising Stars: Meet Joe Hamman

Today we’d like to introduce you to Joe Hamman.

Joe, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I am a Colorado native born in Ft. Collins, I moved away to Cambridge MA to pressure my art education and got my bachelor’s of art in Illustration from Lesley University Art + Design. After finding my artistic voice and honing my skills as an illustrator and graphic designer out east, I came home to Colorado to start my life with my wife who is an RN and establish myself as a Denver-based artist. From my at-home studio, which is full of plants, collected vintage horror movie posters, art, and postcards I am lucky enough to pursue my own creative passions as well as work with a variety of local Denver brands as well as east coast clients. I use my unique approach to design – often integrating hand-drawn elements, printmaking, painting, and found materials – to create a range of work for lovely clients. Locally, you can find my work in Copper Door Coffee Roasters and at Wordshop here in Denver. I am deep in throws of navigating the challenges of establishing myself as an artist and designer in Denver in a world-changing rapidly with Covid and the age of social media but through a dedication to my craft and a refusal to be defined or confined I am constantly opening doors to new opportunities that push me as an artist.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Oh god, has it been smooth for anyone who graduated in 2020? I can’t say it was smooth but every challenge pushed me to grow and find my way home to Denver. Navigating what it means to be an artist these days – especially for someone like me who is eager to try my hand at everything – is daunting. I struggled so much with self-doubt and the fear that I wouldn’t find a place for me or my work in the artistic world, I have struggled with depression and anxiety my whole life and art is my greatest form of healing and escape, but it can also be exhausting trying to turn your passion into your career. It was very challenging seeing all the opportunities I thought I was working towards shift or evaporate in the midst of graduation at the height of the pandemic – but through that challenge, I built a lot of resilience and slowly but steadily made my own way as a creative, which inevitably lead me home to Denver where I am more inspired and busy than ever! I am so thankful for the challenges that have gotten me here.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I am an interdisciplinary designer and illustrator. I work in a variety of mediums – merging digital art and design with hand-crafted elements to create unique work. I design everything from posters and album artwork to branding materials and logos, I also have had the opportunity to complete a few murals in Wellington CO. My repertoire runs the gambit and I am forever interested in seeing how my work translates to different projects and mediums.

Networking and finding a mentor can have such a positive impact on one’s life and career. Any advice?
I highly value mentorship – my mentor was an art school professor who changed my perspective on what it means to be an artist, her name is Kate Castelli (she is incredible). I would say that finding a mentor is very important, even if it’s informal, it’s important to be humble and look at everything and everyone as a learning opportunity. There is so much value in reaching out to people you admire and seeking out their wisdom! it makes you a better and more confident artist and can connect you with people who you want to work with. The world is evolving quicker than ever and while it is hard to keep up having a creative outlook is crucial. I use Instagram for the bulk of my networking and have built my brand/business through using social media to connect with people and curate the work I do so I can do more of it. But I also think it is crucial to slow down and build lasting connections with people through taking – word of mouth is still one of the greatest tools to marketing.

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