Interview: Sean Hannaway


Bring in The Virgins by Maya Ormsby

Sean Hannaway is the type of guy: __________________.

you’d want curating your IG.
you’d want playing saxophone at your wedding or funeral.
you’d want as your coach if you were ever forced into a cage match.
you’d want as a commentator on a subtitled, foreign documentary on cats.
you’d want sitting next to you in a waiting room playing muzak.
you’d want delivering your baby or pulling out your molars.

Fill in the blank.
With whatever situation requires your patience and humanity; anything you find to be too precious or breathtakingly boring, Sean will make it better. He will make it more colorful, fun and imaginative. Sean is your best option for most anything you have to
deal with; it might be your very existence. But whatever it is, you should vote for Sean.

Boo-dah, Botticelli, boobs, bubble-letters: Am I high? I’m not high. I’m high though.

He does this for a living: makes you instantly attractive and attracted to things you aren’t aware of; he’s that good. He’d hate that that was written about him. He’d tell you he was just having fun, he would be humble and self-deprecating; he’d tell you he was doodling. And that would be the truth.

As a native Chicagoan, Hannaway began drawing at a young age, often filling school notebooks with comics and cartoons. By high school, he began refining his technique to renaissance sketches, a theme present within his current work. He was accepted to Northern Illinois University after presenting his work to the Dean, and later received a full-ride scholarship, graduating with a BFA in Drawing. After college, he dabbled in graphic design which lead to a job at an ad-agency where he has created campaigns for Nintendo, McDonald’s and Firestone, among others.

You might find his paintings soothing, you might find them intense, you might find secrets; what you find doesn’t really matter, you’ve just spent the past ten minutes staring into the eye of Raphael’s Madonna and you have no idea why.

The charm of Sean Hannaway’s work lies in exploration and cross-pollination of things that shouldn’t make sense: a playful study of the master and the apprentice. A juxtaposition he describes as a push and pull in a world where they both have a say. His paintings are often packed to the edges, bursting with colors and texture, layered with elements of renaissance form, neon retro-gaming, cheeky graffiti and 80’s glam-rock.

Perhaps it’s his subconscious at play, perhaps it’s subliminal messaging or a throwback to a simpler time: a commentary on commercialism, consumerism, and the weight of it all.
They are all valid in his world, everything has its place of equal weight and measure. The
I’m just having fun of it all; the joy of doing something you enjoy.

In essence, we are all virgins in Hannaway’s world, this unique place he is only able to create. Which also makes Sean Hannaway the type of guy: you should buy paintings from.

Sean Hannaway’s latest body of work: Mostly Virgins will be on view at Galerie F, March 8th - March 31st.