I think what I love about art so much, is that it's so universal and can be interpreted and visualized in so many different ways. Back in July of 2015, I was fortunate enough to be invited out to showcase some of my work in Vancouver for a show called Spit-n-shine. Upon arrival to The Shop Vancouver, who was putting on the show. Kat and I were welcomed with open arms by Tj, Andrew and KC who went leaps and bounds the entire weekend to entertain us and show us around town. While hanging with Andrew he told me a little about his now finance Stacey Hagel and her art talents before I actually met her. As soon as she walked in to The Shop, I immediately brought it up and she shied away but eventually showed me some things on her phone. I was blown away on how intricate and beautiful her work was. As the weekend progressed, and we hung out with more of their crew, I started noticing her art on everyone's helmets, gas tanks, and even boots. When putting Fuel Cleveland together this year, Stacey was one of the first artists on our list for the soul fact she has this fresh outlook on integrating art with motorcycles. I'm also excited to say Stacey and Andrew will be attending the show on May 28th and I can't wait to see them again. Here is a small interview we did the other day so everyone can get to know Stacey a little better, enjoy.
Stacey Hagel, where do you call home?
S: Although I’ve been living in Vancouver British Columbia for the past five years, just outside of Calgary Alberta is where I grew up and where my family lives. This is where home base is.
Tell us a little about yourself, and your background in art/what you do for a living.
S: At an early age, I can remember asking for a carving knife for my birthday. I literally spent the whole summer whittling and building forts out of rocks, sticks and moss; pretty much anything in sight. I kind of had the attitude of why would I buy it when I can probably just make it myself.
After high school, I decided to give art school a try. I thought I would fully embrace in the “artist life” and further develop my skills. Ha, not so much!! I was completely wrong. After a few years of being told by a professor I had no talent, I became your classic art school dropout. For about three years I rarely picked up a pencil. As I stepped away from my sketchbook, I ended up picking up a film camera. I was eager to learn something new and creative so I ended up taking a night class where I developed my own film and learnt the ways of an enlarger.
After some time had passed I decided to give school another shot, but instead of art I moved towards design. This is also where I started to fall in love with art all over again. With a fresh new approach I was picking up pencils, paintbrushes, charcoal, chalk, pastels pretty much anything I could get my hands on. I graduated from Emily Carr with a Bachelors of Design in Interaction Design. This lead me to my current career as an Interaction Designer specializing in User Experience and User Interface design. The last few years I’ve been working in the health design field; learning and designing interactive web and mobile interfaces that are tailored to chronic diseases. To continue to challenge myself and my design skills I do freelance work in other creative fields outside of health design.
Who or what influences your styles and ideas when it comes your designs?
S: I get a lot of inspiration from my surroundings. Although,I find myself always drawn to ancient Egyptian art whether it’s from their sculptures, architecture and paintings. In my work you will notice that Mehndi designs are also very prominent.
S: The small details probably take about the same amount of time, but they are what I enjoy the most. Small details make the biggest impact and for me are what takes a piece from looking great to making something look spectacular, polished and unique.
What’s your all time favorite piece you have ever created?
S: Oooooo, probably a skate deck design I did up for a new snowboard, skate and surf company a few years back. To my disappointment, it was never released, haha classic! So it’s just been sitting in my sketchbook for the last few years.
Are there any new techniques or skills you have been working on or learning lately?
S: Lately, I’ve been mainly focusing on the art of engraving. I’ve been etching for a while now, but finally got to a point where I felt like I was outgrowing my tools and was looking for a different final result. I ended up moving away from my dremel for a while to try an airgraver. The final result is something completely different that surprised even myself. It’s all I think about lately and what I youtube constantly haha. I keep plugging away trying to get more hours under my belt and see how far I can push this new tool.
What do you find most challenging about art?
S: What I find most challenging about art is knowing when to walk away. Whether it’s from a painting, a drawing, or from a commissioned piece. Knowing when to walk away or keep going full force is something I’ve had to learn the hard way and am constantly still working on.
When did motorcycles come into your life? What was your first bike?
S: Motorcycles came into my life about 7-8 years ago. I started off as a passenger on the back of my boyfriend's, now fiance's bike. Every time I jumped on the back, it would completely clear our mind. Fresh air blowing on my face, and this indescribable feeling of connection between the three of us. It’s as if we would all become in sync with one another and moved as one unit. I’ve never been one to sit on the sidelines, so it was only a matter of time before I wanted get behind the bars. My first bike, Janette, was a forest green 1980 Yamaha XS400. She was a crusty old bitch. Often left me sitting on the curb calling the better half, while he laughed hysterically on the other end.
The roads in Vancouver are unreal and I can't wait to go back and explore more, what are some of your favorite places to go for a ride up there that you would recommend?
S: For a quick escape from the city, I like to rip the Lower Marine Rd. to Horseshoe Bay. However, the topper of all roads is the “Sea to Sky”; then cut off up to Squamish Valley Rd. to hit some dirt and be completely surrounded by the forest greens, waterfalls and wildlife .
When did you start combining them together, art and motorcycles?
S: I'm a very visual person so when I don’t understand the complexity of something I often have to draw it out. As I started to take more interest and curiosity in motorcycles, I started to draw and paint them to better understand its complex components. Taking note of each motorcycles different lines and curves and how all its components connect with one another, I started to see motorcycles more sculpturally rather than engine type or brand. As my perspective of motorcycles changed, I became more comfortable leaving my mark on them. This changed my perspective on what my canvas could be. I moved towards wearables, painting on helmets, leather burning on boots and gloves and now of course, hand engraving on steel, aluminum and glass.
Where’s one place on your bucket list you must see?
What’s your ultimate dream machine?
S: My ultimate dream machine would consist of converting an old school bus into a house on wheels, with a garage component in the back with just enough room for two bikes. This ultimate dream machine would travel on whatever road it can make it on. When it can’t, the bikes come out and the adventure continues.
What other hobbies or skills do you have that most people wouldn’t know about you?
S: Well I’ve dabbled in a lot of different mediums over the years and all of them have had some sort of impact on where I’m at now. I also do a lot of leather burning, painting, typography, photography, sculpting, drawing… list goes on. But not art related I love spending time in our garden.
Whats some advice you would give to yourself if you could go back in time to when you were 13?
S: I would probably encourage my 13 year old self to pick up the pencil more often and loosen up a bit. Allow yourself to make mistakes and learn from them. Not everything you create has to be spectacular or complete.
Is there any life mottos or codes that you live by?
S: Live a life that feels right to me, not one that looks right to everyone else.
Are you food truck or sit down restaurant kinda gal?
S: I go where the food is good.
Is there anyone you want to give a shout out to or thank?
S: A BIG THANK YOU has to go out to you, Mikey Revolt! We had the opportunity to meet last summer over here in Vancouver and right from the get-go we were both so hyped on each other's works. You reaching out to me on this opportunity to make my mark on a tank with nothing but excitement and support, which in-turn has really made me push myself outside of my comfort zone on this piece.
Where can people keep up with you and your artwork?
S: I keep Instagram up to date mostly with what I am currently working on @_sbcreative