Recently, Art Editor Elleh Driscoll interviewed Hayden Froehlich whose photograph Hurry is forthcoming in the 40th issue of earthwords. They chat about the energy that goes into Hayden’s work, the challenges of making art, and the story behind Hurry.
Elleh Driscoll: Starting off, what’s been getting you through this time in your life with the pandemic going on?
Hayden Froehlich: Living with my boyfriend, we’ve been watching JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. It’s a goofy, fun anime that really helps get my mind off of everything. I’ve also started working on an animation on the pages of a book. I’m doing it as an assignment, so that takes the fun away from it a bit, but it’s great to have something that looks great and keeps my mind in a good spot.
ED: What gets your creative juices flowing and what does that typically look like?
HF: I need to feel free, and a weird taste of bliss that I can just create. I also get inspired by motion, so I need a bit of energy going in. While I may not have a particular ‘style,’ a lot of my work deals with motion, and how it connects to emotion and experiences. A lot of my works have characters trying to accomplish emotion or motion that may mess up their life with a simple thing. In art, I like to play with (like we see in Hurry) emotion and the sweep of light. I try to keep my energy up, and that translates into the work. I do need to designate a time where I focus on my projects or creating, but I carry around a lot of vision and inspiration with me. If I find a time that fits me, or if I can schedule time, that’s when I can put all those ideas on the table.
ED: How long have you been doing photography? Are there other mediums you enjoy working through?
HF: Photography was a more recent acquisition. I started out with literature and I liked to write fiction and poetry. Then I started a class called Modes of Film Production and it had a lot of fun experimenting with things and coming up with ideas for films I had never seen. I needed to get my own camera so I could do these things at home, so I saved up for a simple Canon camera, and that’s how I delved into photography. I started with taking shots of nature, and now I’ve let it evolve into experimental things.
ED: What do you struggle with as an artist or with any processes of creating?
HF: Focus. I can be impatient, and a jack of all trades. I love to experiment with all these forms and try them out, but I have a hard time sticking to one spot. I think in the art world, artists are all about having a particular style, but that’s a challenge as trying to have an individual ‘style’ is something that I’m not fitting into right now. I’m more focused on making something new every time. Another hurdle is time. I feel like making time for artwork when you’re feeling drained can be really difficult.
ED: What makes photography challenging for you?
HF: It depends on the project. I don’t really know what I’m going to get out of it, but I want to experiment with the mediums that I’m using and seeing how it works out, because they seem to have a mind of their own.
ED: What or who are you inspired by?
HF: One of my favorite artists is a filmmaker named Kevin McLaughlin, who works a lot with Max Cooper, who is an EDM artist (also really great). They create fantastic, interesting, experimental music videos that deal with a lot of photography, motion, music, and rhythms that can put me in a trance. I also really like Rembrant. I love ultra-realist art, but at the other end of the spectrum, I love Monet and seeing the world blurred into just the impressions.
ED: What’s the story behind Hurry?
HF: I’ve only recently gotten a camera, and I’ve always really loved the concept of long exposures. When a camera takes a photo, the shutter speed determines how much light comes in. Letting the shutter stay open for fractions of seconds makes blurred lights and designs in a photo. One night I felt like getting out so I went out to the walkway, and just danced around with my camera. I would just spin there, in the middle of the walkway, which made for a fun moment. There was a lot of experimenting with shutter speed, and I figured out how to draw with lights. I drew a butterfly with a moon at one point. Hurry was a piece that was the result of a very simple sweep in a park. I played with toning and ended up pulling out some interesting neon colors. I tried to mimic what happens with our own eyes when moving quickly, with lights and objects blurring together in an arc pattern. A lot of that night was experimenting, playing around, having fun with the long exposure, and coming back to see what I had created.
ED: Where do you want to go with your art?
HF: I definitely want to work for a film-making company. It’s where my heart is. But I would also love to create experimental projects from my visions alongside that and continue to explore myself creatively while also contributing to the art and entertainment world!
See Hayden’s piece Hurry in earthwords issue 40, out soon.
Hayden Froehlich is a filmmaker, writer, animator, photographer for the Daily Iowan, and professional power walker. He enjoys exploring themes of movement, emotion and queer identities in experimental hybrid works. What Hayden will decide to make next is a mystery to all including Hayden, but rest assured it will always be something new.
Check his website out!