The Artists of Hook & Loop

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Newsprint. Cardboard. Walls. Skateboards. An arm.

These are just some of the surfaces that Hook & Loop staffers transform from everyday items into intriguing works of art. Sure, they are software developers and designers who write code and craft engaging user interfaces by day. But these Hook & Loop folks are also talented artists who wield paintbrushes, pencils, and even glue to manifest other forms of their creative self-expression. So we thought we’d share glimpses of their work in this series, “The Artists of Hook & Loop.”

Read on and check back for a new featured artist every week.

Alicia, Designer

When did you realize you could create art?
When I was in pre-school I did a lot of scribbling and playing around with art supplies. The bus driver always complained that I would bring home huge stacks of paper, but that didn’t stop me. Whether they were drawings, cutouts, or folded pieces, I knew that I had an interest in arts and crafts.

What’s your go-to tool? The one you can’t live without?
Paper of course! You can’t start anything without a single sheet of paper. Even without a writing instrument, there’s a lot you can do with paper. You have the option to explore the size, shape, weight, and color to create something aesthetic.

Why do you work mostly with paper?
I consider paper my main element or “base.” I’ve always been interested in geometry, shapes, and 3D design. I realized that you could control the area and volume by just folding it. With that in mind, I wanted to stick with something simple that didn’t require anything messy.

Why do you create art?
I guess it’s considered my kind of therapy. There’s no right or wrong answer to it and you can be as abstract as you want it to be. Overall, it’s like a form of showing your personal feelings in a visual way.

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Sam C., Designer

When did you realize you could create art?
When I was younger I attended an art class called The Village Artist. We made pinch pig sculptures. I ended up working with the Village Artist until I was 15 years old and then moved to a school in Huntington. It was grueling! Four days a week after school for four hours, but I loved going.

What’s your go-to tool? The one you can’t live without?
When I paint, my favorite thing to use is yellow ochre. I like to make a light wash and then draw out my painting using yellow ochre.

How do you know when a work is finished?
I don’t know if I’m ever able to tell when something is finished. I’d have to say a general rule is, if what I’m doing is making it worse, I’m done.

Why do you paint?
Now that I always work on a computer I really enjoy being able to get my hands dirty.

Describe a real-life situation that inspired you.
I’ve had some close people in my life pass away and I used painting as a way to express some of what I was feeling. It created something tangible that I can look at and remember the person in the painting.

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Tiago, Associate Creative Director

When did you realize you could create art?
My parents wanted me to be a doctor and gave me all of their medical books by the time I turned five. Instead of reading them I started to draw the body’s nervous system and skeletons. I haven’t stopped since.

What medium do you enjoy working with the most?
I’m actually a frustrated musician. I would love to play drums but I’m too lazy for it. That’s why all of my recent projects involve sound and music.

How do you know when a work is finished?
Everything you do is autobiographical, so the novel never ends…

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Inna, Quality Control Coordinator

What medium do you enjoy working with most?
I love working with stone and stainless steel wire because they’re small enough to carry with me. I can mold and shape the wire to my liking. I guess I’m a sculptor deep down.

How do you know when a work is finished?
I know something is finished when it’s perfect! When it looks beautiful in my eyes.

Why do you create purses, belts, and jewelry?
I love to see my art worn by someone else. I feel confirmation that what I create is actually amazing because someone chose to wear it over all of the other beautiful things this world offers.

I do prefer to create very large art pieces and installations but accessories allow me more flexibility when I travel and move around.

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Jeremy H., Senior Information Architect

When did you realize you could create art?
When I was ten years old, I used to make magazines with collages of images from other magazines like “Time” and “Newsweek.” I sold them at school for a quarter each.

What’s your go-to tool? The one you can’t live without?
Right now, a pencil and paper. But also Pilot Precise V5 Fine pens (black). I also use Photoshop quite a bit.

Why do you draw?
Because if I don’t, I quickly become a very unhappy person who is miserable to live with.

Describe a real-life situation that inspired you?
Canoeing through the Gowanus Canal to Governor’s Island. It inspired me because it never occurred to me that here in New York you can just get into a boat by yourself and go to an island.

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Peter G., Creative Director Video

Why do you make films?
Because I was too tall to be a fighter pilot. I was 6’ 4” when I arrived for my first Air Force recruitment meeting. The recruiter said, “you can’t grow anymore.” That summer I grew two inches and all my dreams fell away. So I went to my high school guidance counselor and said I want to make movies. He got me into a magnet art school to take college level courses.

What inspired you to direct a film for The Sonnet Project?
I’ve always been a big fan of Shakespeare. The rules of this project were that you picked the sonnet you wanted to do, explained why you wanted to do it, and submitted your directing reel. Sonnet 85 is all about love, not through words but through action and devotion. I’m really drawn to the idea of unseen beauty. There are things that are amazing around us every day that we don’t pay attention to, but there’s beauty in them.

Sonnet 85 – 125th St. Trestle, Manhattan from NY Shakespeare Exchange on Vimeo.

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Jason, Associate Designer

When did you start creating art?
I’ve been creating art ever since I was a small tike. My mom literally has baby books with my artwork in them.

How do you know when a work is finished?
Work is never finished in an artist’s mind really, but I would say once I finally lay down all my inks is when I have a sense of completion.

Why do you draw?
It’s an escape, an endless world where anything is possible.

Read Jason’s post about how comic books can inspire web design.

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Melissa, Designer

What’s your go-to tool? The one you can’t live without?
Pencil, it all starts with a pencil.

How do you know when a work is finished?
Honestly, I never feel like things are finished. When I have to go to print, that is when it is finished, because I can’t finesse anymore.

Tell us about a real-life situation that inspired you.
My high school art teacher told me I would never be an artist. She made me want to prove her wrong. I have proven her wrong, and will continue to do so. I may not be the typical type of artist, but I create art every day, and what is better than that?

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Victoria, Associate Designer

What inspired this series of illustrations?
In middle school I began drawing people in stylish outfits, and I gave them matching screen names (AOL was rising in popularity at the time). So this idea isn’t really new to me—fashion and people have fascinated me from the get-go.

What medium do you enjoy working with most?
I like working traditionally with paper and pencil the most. This technique comes the most naturally to me. However, it’s nice to change it up and paint sometimes. I also want to learn more about creating digital artwork.

Why do you draw?
I enjoy coming home from work and being able to create something with my hands. It’s therapeutic for me to get into a “drawing zone” where I am very focused on just the pencil and the paper—and nothing else.

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Danielle, Associate Designer

When did you realize you could create art?
I’ve been creating for as long as I can remember, drawing since I could hold a pencil.

What’s your go-to tool?
A paintbrush—it’s second nature to me. Painting for me is an emotion. If I couldn’t express my self through painting, I wouldn’t be me.

What medium do you enjoy working with most?
Watercolor allows me to be spontaneous and expressive. When I need to splash paint around I can, but when I need to be controlled the water is the barrier. It’s the perfect balance. Also, I love color so it allows me to play with rich pigments.

How do you know when a work is finished?
Nothing is ever “finished,” but when I can say I’m satisfied with it and wouldn’t be ashamed to show it off, it’s done. Artists are our own worst enemies so when I can say I’m happy with something for the moment, I move on.

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Sophia, Creative Coordinator

What’s your go-to tool?
PVA glue, or my glue gun. I love texture, and it works to give the painting a varnished look too. My favorite way to paint is in mixed media, so the glue holds it all together … if you’ll excuse the pun!

How do you know when a work is finished?
Usually when my hands start hurting, and I can’t tell the original color of the t-shirt I was wearing, then I need to stop myself.

What medium do you enjoy working with most?
Absolutely anything—the more mediums the merrier! I often use old books or pieces of textiles to create prints or to layer up a background. Anything runny and gloopy, like acrylic paint, really makes an impression. And the endless color possibilities are far too tempting.

How did you learn to paint?
When we were kids, and my mother wanted to get rid of us for a couple of hours, she would put buckets of poster paint in the garden and lean a big canvas against the garden fence, and let us paint to our hearts content. My sister and I would spend hours like this, and one of our “masterpieces” is still up on my dad’s office wall.

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Ted, Manager of Software Development 

When did you start creating art?
I’m still not sure I CAN create art. I mean, I make stuff, and if people think it’s art, that’s kind of groovy.

What medium do you enjoy working with most?
Paper and ink, mostly markers. With no undo option, every line has to be right, which helps me focus and get into a zone…

How do you know when a work is finished?
I’m not sure, because sometimes I go back and add more to a piece. Though usually it’s done when I can’t think of anything else to do to it … or on it.

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