Hannah V Lemke, also known as ‘milkdadd’, is an internationally collected, self-taught artist residing in Little Rock, originally from a small Louisiana town. Inspired by her fascination with body language and the female experience, Lemke’s often evolving style never seems to fit into one category, but the theme that remains unshaken is her obsession with the female face. One can expect to see a variety of mediums through out her work including spray paint, chalk, charcoal, and bold colored acrylics. Lemke has been featured in local art shows, small businesses, and pop up events. Watch her process and stay up to date with future events by following @milkdadd on social media.
What’s your favorite part of your process? Most challenging?
That’s tough a tough one, I truly do love the entire process of making art. My current favorite part, I’d have to say is choosing my color palette. I’ve been obsessing over color lately. Oh, and I adore painting the eyes, that will always be the best part for me. The most challenging is hands down choosing a subject. I see so many fantastic faces I want to paint like- All. The. Time.
Has the reception/reaction to your art changed/affected your process? If so, how?
Absolutely! My work has been seen more in the past year than ever before and I love it. It is the best feeling (and also weird!) when I go out and get asked if I’m milkdadd. I love meeting people and hearing how people discover me, what their favorite piece is, or how I’ve inspired them to create their own art. Like Queen (one of my favorite bands) I love coming up with ways to engage my audience, such as having people send me their favorite photos of themselves or their friends for me to draw or paint. They make me want to make more.
Has changing technology/evolving media affected how you connect with the public and/or aided your art mediums?
For me, it has been my biggest aid in sharing my work and connecting with people both locally and internationally. In addition to that, I get to keep up with my favorite artists who always inspire me to step out of my comfort zone and try new mediums and processes with my work.
Who are the artists you admire and why? Do any of their artworks inspire your own?
I’m in love with ALL the local artists in our community, but I’d have to say Robert Bean and Matthew Castellano are my current two faves. Robert Bean inspires me to tell a story with my work, and Matthew Castellano inspires the process in which I create.
What inspires you?
Most of my inspiration is drawn from the female experience and its contemporary nuances. There is a standard of beauty that is saturated, overplayed, and people are finally beginning to not play into it. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but what if the beholder has centuries of manipulation tampering with their eyes? I love these body positive, queer positive, and pube-positive movements I see on social media. I am inspired and in awe of women, especially women of color or queer women or fat women who are reclaiming their identities and shattering this hetero-normative standard of beauty. I love to glamorize aspects of the female physique that haven’t always been acceptable or considered beautiful. Stretch marks, gap teeth, unkempt pubes, these are things that are wholly human and wholly woman. I am just here to paint alongside the revolution of loving yourself.
When you’re not in the studio or doing art, where can we find you?
Ha. Nowhere else, I never stop making art. OK, occasionally I take a break. I am actually a single mom to my 3-year-old son. He is also very creative! We love making things together and playing in the dirt.
What’s your favorite local hangout?
Honestly, I don’t get out too much. Between being a mom and being an artist there’s not much room left for me to hangout, but I have been taking myself to get ice cream at Loblolly pretty often here lately. That counts right? It counts.
Are you represented by any art galleries?
Not yet! *wink, wink* Hello, art galleries, love on me.
What are some of your greatest accomplishments as an artist?
My greatest accomplishment as an artist is getting to be part of our local art community. I have never really had a chance to be a part of something, and getting to do things for the community has been the best. I feel accomplished when someone shares with me how my work has made them feel, whether it was inspiring or made them think. It is an absolute dream to make art that means everything to me and find out it means something to someone else as well.
What’s next for you as an artist?
What’s next? That’s a good question. Maybe you guys will just have to watch and see. *wink* I take what I do very seriously, but I also take it day to day. I am ecstatic when opportunities are presented to me, but I also have a lot of growing and living to do as an artist. I am really enjoying my process and trying on new styles. I’ve also got some ideas for installations as well as a small book of illustrations.