small talk // regina schilling // artist + founder of HEY LADY

i first met regina schilling on instagram and we immediately clicked. i loved her zines and doodles and she offered to send me a copy of her hey lady project in the mail. her note was was one of the most sentimental things i've ever received, even though we had never actually met in real life. it said, "i'm so inspired just knowing you and glad we've started the cool women doing cool things on the internet club." hey lady is a collaborative art project in which regina picks a woman who has made significant contributions and deserves to be remembered. she then reaches out to friend and woman artists across the world who are underrepresented or would be a good contributor. the submission process is through snail mail and in the process it promotes female friendship and correspondence. i was so honored to contribute to the latest issue, which focused on sister rosetta tharpe! this weekend regina is doing a hey lady art show in seattle, and my work is on display among many other ladies.

cultureisland: tell us more about you.

regina schilling: i was born 3 days after halloween in new york. i arrived with green eyes, a deep love for daisies and a need to be in my room drawing drawings. i went to the school of visual arts and studied painting, but became more and more interested in works on paper and art books while i was there thanks to places like printed matter. it seemed more accessible and fun to be involved in non-precious items that you could share with lots of people. in that vain, i decided to start hey lady when i moved to olympia a couple of years ago. it's a way to collaborate with friends, motivate people to make things, meet new artists and celebrate cool women.

cutureisland: tell us more about your drawings

regina schilling: i like to draw as a way to catalog my thoughts, make funny commentary or just remember something beautiful i've seen. my drawings are quick, impulsive scribbles. sometimes they are more careful, but they are never done more than once. i want them to be funny, genuine and un-edited. sometimes i'm doing something else completely and all of a sudden i need to get a drawing down right away and it's feels very urgent. other times i will sit in front of journals and just force myself to fill them up.

cultureisland: do you focus on any specific subject matter?

regina schilling: my subject matter is generally things floating around in my brain. things that are happening to me or around me. certain images always creep up like daisies and coffee mugs. 

cultureisland: what inspires you to create your work?

regina schilling: i'm inspired by colors, songs and current things happening around me. quiet unnoticed things and funny things and beautiful things. recently, i've been inspired by horror movies and have been re-watching all my favorites and finding new ones and drawing scenes from them. i'm making a cohesive-guide-to-horror-movies-that-don't-make-you-feel-like-shit-watching-them-as-a-woman. when feminism is mentioned in horror movies, people are always focusing on rape revenge movies. i hate watching those! i want this book to be both a reference guide for what movie to watch and also a collection of spooky art.

cultureisland: how has your work evolved overtime?

regina schilling: now that i work on art full time, there is a lot more art happening. instead of trying to fit in into my schedule, it is my schedule and i can work on a few things at once and play off of all of them. i am doing a series of giant oil paintings and i want to continue to focus on that. just having them take up more physical space gives them some special power, some seriousness. i used to resist that but now i want to embrace it. i've become better at recognizing what is working for me and what isn't and throwing out ideas and changing them. last year, i joined instagram and my consciousness for the audience who will see my work has helped it grow as well. i mean, in a lot of ways, my work is very similar to how it was when i started as a teen. it's personal! the thing that has grown is my confidence in it. 

cultureisland: tell us more about hey lady. how did it come about? what's the process for creating the zine?

regina schilling: hey lady is a feminist collaborative art quarterly. my role is to wrangle artists to make a portrait of a woman of my choosing. i do a lot of research on both who to feature and who to ask to contribute to create a showcase of art with a focus on woc and lgbtq women. it has grown three times it size in it's 5 issues and i am always looking for ways for it to improve and grow. with art, it's easy to get caught up in your personal narrative, but with hey lady it's all these different perspectives and depictions and i love the collectiveness of it. my favorite part is finding new artists or having them reach out to me and be excited to contribute. i want it to be a place where people can be a part of something good. to celebrate women who have done such an incredible job at being humans. 

cultureisland: who are some of your favorite artists? any in your city we should check out?

regina schilling: there are so many current artists i love, so many people are doing great things! holly pappalardo is incredible. she's in california, and makes real dreamy collages and ink paintings. another art star is james roo, he makes comics and everything else cool and his work is really unique and colorful. my favorite artist of all time is yoko ono! 

cultureisland: what are you listening to right now?

regina schilling: i've been listening to molly nilson's album "these things take time" on repeat for the past few days. 

cultureisland: have you watched anything inspiring lately?

regina schilling: i've been watching the new season of bojack horseman the past few nights and i love it so much. it's so sad and sweet and funny and lisa hanawalt is truly killing it with her drawings for the series. i also re-watched the yayoi kusama documentary "i love me" and it's a must see. she recites poetry, dances, completes giant drawings in time-lapsed videos. she is actually going to be the next hey lady!

cultureisland: what are your favorite places to eat, shop, drink coffee in your city or neighborhood?

regina schilling: i live in olympia, washington. it's the birthplace of riot grrl! my favorite place to eat is the arepa food truck. it has the best food and it's near the house where kurt cobain lived.  my favorite place to shop is psychic sister. they have everything from clogs, to all sizes of vintage dresses and even every issue of hey lady. it's so well curated and beautiful. the best place for coffee is bar francis and on tuesday mornings august farm sells fresh flowers in their cafe. olympia is really nice!

* you can see more of regina's work here + follow her instagram here *