Girl Skin is a girl and boy collective of two artists Hayden Currie and Hien Hoang. Based in San Fran, these two take unhealthy societal norms by the balls. Girl Skin is inspired by 90’s ‘bubblegum pop aesthetic’ and their drive will hit home for everyone reading.
Sharnelle: One of the reasons I wanted to interview you both was because of what your art represents, as well as how cute and colorful it is. You say in your Instagram that your art explores objectification, fetishism, and more. What prompted you to make your art off of these things?
We noticed the prevalence of glamorous depictions of overtly sexual, violent, and capitalistic themes. We were motivated to start Girl Skin as a satire kind of imagery.
Sharnelle: When did you guys first start creating art or drawing?
Hein: I started making art as early as I can remember, especially on lined paper. We only had paper from notebooks since my parents bought in bulk one time from the flea market.
Hayden: I don’t remember when i started but I grew up on a farm and spent a lot of my childhood drawing weird stuff.
Sharnelle: Did it always include reference to social issues?
“You know we live in a society!” – George Costanza
Hayden: In all seriousness, I think all art deals with social issues to some extent. Even high escapist art says a lot about the social environment of the person who made it. When I was young I made staple-bound comics about the adventures of my stuffed animals. They were full of violent imagery. I grew up on a farm that raised animals for meat and my comics were partly a response to my immediate environment.
Hien: I feel that it would be hard to produce any creative work without being influenced by your social climate. When I was in the second grade, we had an assignment to draw self portraits. A handful of girls in my class drew themselves as blonde-haired and blue-eyed even though they had darker hair, eyes, and skin. When the teacher asked them why, they said that they wanted to look like Barbie. Even though unintentional, it was a powerful statement.
Sharnelle: I think your art is a great way to make women and others aware that there is an issue with what society is teaching us. Your colorful art also empowers us, especially since you’re selling stickers of them. We can wear them and feel stronger and cute. I love that.
Thank you! We wanted to produce affordable art and stickers are a great medium to accomplish that goal. We’ll definitely continue to try to find different ways to help keep our art affordable.
Sharnelle: Do you guys plan to do more with your current Etsy shop, which now only sells stickers of your art?
Yes, definitely. We have plans to expand our shop beyond just stickers. We’ll soon post up our prints as well as other art pieces. We’re also working on a collaboration with other artists that will launch sometime early in the spring.
Sharnelle: How did you both create your own style? Did it come to you, or was it something that took time and experimenting?
Girl Skin‘s style is inspired by many sources. We’re partly inspired by the clean, crisp vector illustrations that is dominant in digital design since Hien comes from that world. We also grew up in the nineties and the slick, shiny, bubblegum pop aesthetic of Britney Spears, boy bands, Barbies, Nickelodeon cartoons, and Disney helped us develop the color palette. We both watch a lot of films and a handful of directors are a constant source of inspiration for us including David Lynch, Nicolas Refn, and Alejandro Jodorowsky.
Sharnelle: You guys are a duo artist group. How did you find each other and create this brand? What’s the story there?
We met at Hayden‘s art show in Oakland. We started to collaborate more and more and it was confusing to keep crediting two people on the work. We decided that using a collective name would simplify the process.
Sharnelle: Do you have any shout-outs or anything else you’d like to add to this interview before we end?
We want to thank the art community and everyone who supports it. And also cannabis for existing.
Small town canadian writer with a love for felines. Into personal fashion and expressing yourself, as well as anything fantasy (including video games).