We are excited to announce the newest member to the Grain team: Willis Hoke. Willis jumped in to fill our Studio Manager position when Claire returned to school a few weeks ago, and we are so grateful to have his help. Among other things, Willis will be managing our shipping, working on production, helping with in-house photography, and maybe we can even convince him to step in as our new model now that Claire is in New York. Check out the below Q&A to learn more.
Q: You, like Claire, just finished your Bachelor of Arts at Evergreen. Can you tell us about the range of subjects you studied during your undergrad?
A: I actually began my undergraduate work intending to study philosophy. I spent almost four years at two different schools before I decided I wanted to pursue art. I transferred to Evergreen, where I spent my first few terms exploring media studies and art history. After this, I spent a year in Student Originated Studies programs, which allow students to develop their own course of study in a group learning environment. I divided my time between drawing, printmaking, and photography, and I also developed a body of research into Minimalist and Conceptual art practices. For my final term, I completed an internship learning letterpress printing at a beautiful place called The Sherwood Press.
Q: You've recently moved to Seattle. What is your favorite thing about this city, so far?
A: This is probably true of most large cities, but I like that its a place where I feel like things are happening. There's always art, music, or films to see, and you can hear the noise of traffic even at night. There's something about this energy that I really enjoy.
Q: We heard you had a short stint as a coffee roaster. Can you tell us about how you built a DIY roasting setup?
A: While I was living in Eugene several years ago, two friends and I came up with an idea to save money on coffee. We built a roaster out of an old barbeque and some scrap metal, moved it into a friends garage, and started out with a few pounds of green coffee. We soon figured we might be able to make some money, so we bought several hundred pounds of coffee and began roasting weekly. After a few months, we finally broke even and then decided to call it quits.
Q: What do you hope to be doing creatively in the next 5 years?
A: Honestly, I can't say. I've been working on some small prints. I'm also trying to draw more. It's sometimes difficult for me to feel invested when I'm working alone, so I try to set aside an hour or two each day and just work on something, even if I don't have a sense of where it'll lead. Someday, I'd like to buy a press or two and open a small print studio. Eventually, I'd also like to return to school.