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Jon Hanlan @jonhanlan

What is your name and where are you from?

My name is Jon Hanlan (@jonhanlan) and I am from Ontario, Canada.

Why did you decide to become an artist?

I decided to become an artist in large part because it was a path that had already paved its way in my life. It was one of the only things I am decent at, and I chose to pursue it with the intention of helping humanity in my own ways.

Who or what inspires your work?

There’s many people who inspire my work. As a kid I found myself watching retro cartoons (such as Rocky and Bullwinkle, as well as 90s anime such as Digimon) on repeat and they stuck in my head throughout my life. I became fascinated with creating my own world that hopefully people enjoyed being apart of in one form or another. Some of my biggest inspirations in everyday life include the late work of Pablo Picasso, Keith Haring, Fernando Botero, Romero Britto, among many others. As well as other influences such as the Mediterranean, and the many talented people I am forever discovering thanks to the internet!

What would you like to achieve with your work?

What I would like to achieve in my work is creating an undeniable world within my work, full of life, colour, characters and everything I enjoy in our everyday reality. I love the idea of cultivating my own vision based on the influences that have struck me along the way, and contributing to the vast conversation that is the creative journey. Creating artwork as an admirer of many forms of art, in order to hopefully contribute to humanity in positive ways.

What role does Instagram have for you and your art?

Instagram has deeply motivated me to put my work out there, especially on a consistent basis. I treat it as a client who has a deadline with the simple prompt of putting work out there on a consistent basis. However, I have really tried to keep it in check as of lately. It can easily become overwhelming, especially with the amount of talented creatives also contributing to the platform. I am pleased to have built a community through Instagram and love connecting with others in ways that were simply not possible before the renaissance of social media.

How do you interact with your followers?

I interact with my followers genuinely and try to be consistent as possible. I also often will ask questions on Stories and ask what they would like to see next from me.

What other platforms do you use to show your art?

I tend to be using Twitter lately for more spontaneous conversations within the illustration and design fields. I post to Dribbble, Behance and Giphy sometimes as well.

What do you like most about being an artist?

I enjoy how it feels like I can be a kid forever, in ways. Every time I show up to create, whether for a client or personal work, I feel as though I am in a similar zone that I was as a kid. Creating worlds from my observations mixed with my imagination. It’s exciting to be able to also work remotely and in large part be responsible for my own career, there’s something really magical about it and I am forever grateful that it’s especially possible these days for creative people.

What has been your best work so far? Why do you like it most?

I am most proud of the stickers and GIFs I have created on the Giphy platform. They have been used in total over a billion times, so clearly people are connecting with the work I put out there. I am so thankful that it has the ability to reach that many people on social media and otherwise. I have created work for Pride, Valentine’s Day, Christmas, and other celebrations. I plan to continue adding to my collection of artworks on there into the future and couldn’t be more excited!

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Where I see myself in 10 years is making more colourful and happy artworks, while sharing them with the world. Somewhere in a Mediterranean villa, creating illustrations and artwork while overlooking the sea. Surrounded by inspirations in my head and putting my best work out there to date, with a smile upon my face.