Eel (Eel Hir/They/She) currently lives and works in The San Bernardino Mountains outside of Los Angeles. Their practice is multidisciplinary, a sculptural artist working with wood, oils, ceramics, stained glass, and fibers their work speaks on censorship and that all bodies are good bodies.
What made you want to start creating or selling?
I have always been creating for as long as I can remember! Most of my projects start out as large scale projects and then break down in to smaller pieces when people ask to buy certain parts of them!
What do you wish someone would have told you when you started? Did you have experience or did you learn as you went along?
I learned a lot from my undergraduate education and getting my BFA but have been continuing learning new things, taking classes when needed to learn something for a project I am working on and teaching myself new skills. I am still learning about the business side of things, I don't really like the business side of things or having to keep up my online presence I just like making the work but am learning to try and be better at those aspects because they are so important.
What do you love most about your brand? Or the work you produce?
I love sitting down in my studio and having the walls filled with work in progress, I love creating what is in my mind and I love everyone who models for me and trusts me with my vision.
What kind of challenges have you had to overcome as a small business owner? As an LGBTQIA+ artist or entrepreneur?
Trying to make the work that I want to make while also balancing work that people want me to make is difficult. There are a lot of projects that I have to turn down because I wouldn't have time to do that work and also my personal work and if I'm not making personal work then what is the point, it feels so much more fullfilling to be working on what I want to work on and therefore I rarely take commissions.
How have you pivoted or evolved your business because of Covid-19? // How has Covid-19 affected your creation process?
I was planning to get my MFA but have postponed that because of Covid-19. I have been learning new skills that I need to inform my practice and finish a few interactive art pieces. I have also had to put some projects on hold for example I am working on a series of 9 LGBTQIA+ couples asleep in their beds together but have put that on hold because I cannot go into people's homes right now and wouldn't want to take that risk.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I wake up and stare at the wall of in progress paintings that I have and think about the parts of them that I want to change, then decide what project I want to work on. I have about 7 paintings going at once, some oils and some acrylics. I also have a lot of stained glass projects that I am working on, depending on deadlines or if I have a drop coming up I will decide what I need to work on.
Who are some of your favorite queer artists or creators? Queer owned businesses?
@neenineen, @brettscribbles, Caroline Wells Chandler, Chiachio and Giannone
What is something you’re looking forward to in 2021?