Contributor Spotlight: Isma Gul Hasan

Our Spotlight series introduces you to the people behind Perennial Press. In this post, we hear from force / fields contributor and  illustrator Isma Gul Hasan. Hasan talks about the various books she is reading, creativity during quarantine, going to school for illustration, and leaves us with her favorite poem (spoiler: it’s Adrienne Rich.) 

What book are you reading right now?

I’m reading four at the same time! Juggling two Ray Bradbury short story collections, along with Haruko/Love Poems by June Jordan, with a bit of nonfiction to balance it out: The Power of Words by Simone Weil.

Have you been going to any online creative events during quarantine? Tell us about the last one you attended.

I think online events have been keeping me sane. Attended a short loop animation workshop by the wonderful illustrator Rama Duwaji- it was so rewarding.

How do you stay creative during quarantine?

I usually make my way to more serious projects by doing playful, tactile stuff. Been doodling on scraps of paper, working with charcoal, and filling sketchbooks with ink patterns. Reading helps me stay creative too. I dig up passages and books that stimulate my imagination and then take it from there.

Did you go to school for writing / art? Describe that experience. 

I did. It was equal parts frustrating and enlightening. So much of what is created is policed by the institution, with all their biases and prejudices intact. It helped me develop my skills and techniques for sure, but the rest of the education I had to take care of myself- the things they don’t teach you. They don’t teach you to question the hierarchies that exist all around us, and they don’t equip you with the skills you need to be a conscientious member of society. Talking specifically about art schools. Artists usually have to figure this stuff out on their own.

Leave us with your favorite poem.

Twenty-One Love Poems IX by Adrienne Rich.

Keep up with Isma on Instagram @IsmaGulHasan

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