We had the good fortune of connecting with Rebecca Hamm and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Rebecca, what are you inspired by?
I am inspired by the constant creative process in nature and humankind, often to the point of great distraction. Although my collections of studies and writings on creativity continue to grow, the best exploration comes from quietly observing nature and working in the studio. Each person has a uniquely creative voice and vision to express in this world. Creative producers lean heavily into experimentation and the development of processes toward allowing flow to happen. When asked for creative advice, I love sharing these three things. First, the honoring of one’s creativity and the making of work is hugely important. Value is to be found in the actions, the experiences, the reviewing and the moving on. Second, just showing up is the first step, be it the studio, or any “creative space” where you explore. Give your best to making this “space” an experimental laboratory which is free from critical review during the process. Sounds simple yet, for me, it is the profound challenge. Third, always find ways to give back generously.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
It is wonderful to have this opportunity to reflect on and shoutout those who are my story. I’ve always loved art… I mean the full, fall-on-my-face, awestruck experience. I have early memories of how extraordinary is was to look at a painting, make a drawing, watch a ballet or listen closely to an album. My talented older sisters influenced my exploration of visual art, music and performance and my parents were always champions for me, in their loving, unique ways. After high school, I dove head first into the visual arts, music performance and undergrad studies. I was delighted to finally begin the full-time study of art and started painting with the mentorship of Barbara A. Thomason, and developed a deeper drawing practice with Stanley C. Wilson. I gratefully got a job doing graphic design and production with the generous and talented Gene Phipps whose mentorship is still invaluable to me. After the BA, I went directly on to Claremont Graduate University where Roland Reiss, Karl Benjamin, Kim Abeles, David Amico, and so many others challenged my concepts and practice. My friend said of the CGU experience: “Its like drinking from a fire hose.” It’s a fact that the groups of students I had the good fortune to land up with during those years at both universities were extraordinary. I so appreciate staying connected with many of them today. My art work continues and I show locally and nationally. In 1990, two important things happened. I began working as a university art instructor with classes in art production and creative practice, and I started working with the Tierra del Sol Foundation. At university, I loved working with students who were discovering so much about their own creativity and eager to change the world. At Tierra, I was introduced to dedicated artists who also identified as experiencing disabilities. Today, I am honored to continue that work with over 100 artists who are expanding their professional careers. Our hard-working team of artists, artist-mentors, and our larger Tierra del Sol organization is known for its dedication to groundbreaking advocacy for full acceptance and inclusion for all.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
During this time of Covid, many places offer online visits or by appointment and the rest are worth the wait. Often our best teachers are the ones who inspire and disrupt us most. Now, more than ever, special effort should be made to seek out and support galleries, art publications, arts non-profits and independent projects that labor in love for art and artists. Its important to consider how to more actively support these places and organizations online and financially. Here is a plan for friendly excursions to the natural places and the city vistas nearby. Start with a day or two of exploring Claremont’s public art, museums, lovely tree-scapes and a delicious treat from Crème Bakery or SomeCrust, or both. Then, take a quick trip to AMOCA.org (American Museum of Ceramic Art) in nearby Pomona, and to Upland to visit Upland Art Studios. This is one of the two studios of Tierra del Sol Foundation, the other is Sunland Studio Arts in Sunland. Next day, there’s a short drive up to Mt. Baldy, (Mount San Antonio) where I lived for 5 years. There are hikes to match any experience level. Stop at the Visitor Center for info and the Mt. Baldy history tour, it will surprise you. Another day is a beautiful drive to Joshua Tree National Park and a visit to town which includes the ever-creative Taylor Junction, then off to Desert Peach Gallery in Yucca Valley, say “Hi” to Juan and Susie. Heading back to the big city includes experiencing the pageantry at Venice Beach and the beaches of Santa Monica including the galleries there. And finally, the Los Angeles art museums and ever changing galleries are on my list. Be sure to check out the TierraDelSolGallery.org in Chinatown and the current show of artist HK Zamani at 515bendix.com and on Instagram @p0stgh0st is HK Zamani.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Here are my shoutouts in print, and in spirit, to these creative warriors (and there are more than I can mention here) who have brought vital inspiration, insight, wise counsel and support to my creative path in the Arts and Community. Thank you to my dear family and friends including these amazing artists and musicians: David Brock, Barbara A. Thomason, Stanley C. Wilson, Gene Phipps, Cynthia Comsky, Diane Divelbess, Henry Jefferson, Roland Reiss, Karl Benjamin, all my students, and my fellow artists and activists with the Tierra Del Sol Foundation.

Website: rebeccahamm.org
Instagram: rebeccahamm.art
Facebook: Rebecca Hamm
Other: Tierradelsol.org Tierradelsolgallery.org

Image Credits
Tierra del Sol Foundation, Rebecca Hamm

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