Get to Know H+ Creative Founder: Hannah Stouffer
Can you tell me about the origins of the firm and studio? Who started it, why, and where? Who were the first artists to join the H+ Creative family or what was the studio’s first major project?
Hannah Stouffer: We launched our first event in 2015 with ‘IRIDESCENCE,’ an initial exhibition that took place during Art Basel in Miami. Our inaugural show featured 15 internationally recognized contemporary artists in a series of events at The Shore Club South Beach during the massive art fair season. I had been wanting to curate an exhibition that focused on a range of artists from across the globe, with a common visual thread - something vibrant, transcendent, futuristic and almost otherworldly––thus bringing H+ Creative to fruition.
We curated an ambitious roster for IRIDESCENCE, showcasing sculptural, projected, 2D, 3D and neon works on display and for sale from artists across the globe. The artists involved included Gustavo Torres (KidMoGraph), Vince Mckelvie, Ultramajic, Pilar Zeta, Clara Luzian (Render_Fruit) Giacomo Carmagnola, David M Cook (Bonethrower), Jose Di Gregorio, Esther Ruiz, Justin Lovato, Anny Wang, Adam Friedman, Lala Abaddon, Francesco Locastro, Anne Vieux, Jonny Alexander, Hilary White, and John Foster. It was truly legendary.
I partnered with Sarah Potter, a now Color Magic Witch, and my good friend Radiant Human, the aura photographer, to make the experience even more transcending. From that point on, I started loosely representing some of the artists that had exhibited in the show and continued curating exhibitions at Art Basel based on this initial showcase. In addition to physical shows, I started to offer consulting and support on commercial, client based projects, guidance to creatives, partnerships and collaborations. I have a long history as both a commercial illustrator as well as an art writer for Juxtapoz and Vice, both print and online so connecting and showcasing artists has always been in my blood. I have been focused and involved in these worlds the entirety of my career before building up H+ Creative and have curated numerous shows as well as 4 internationally published art books with Gingko Press on different genres of visual art. This focus on ‘New Futurism’ was always something that I wanted to fully explore and bring to the public eye as a visual art movement. I had a curatorial vision of creating a roster of artists that were all based in this genre and really exploring how far we could take it.
What does the “H+” in the name stand for?
Hannah Stouffer: Our name and basis of our identity as H+ is an abbreviation of an international philosophical movement called Transhumanism, which advocates for the transformation of the human condition by developing and making widely available sophisticated technologies to greatly enhance human intellect and physiology. It’s basically the idea behind the advancement of our existence with the aid of technology, which is exactly what we do in a creative sense!
From that initial showcase, the roster of talent has evolved and shifted as we’ve found what works best for our own unique creative output, delving further and further into the endless capabilities that new technology brings. We have moved away from physical sculpture and installations and fully embraced 3D, digital , AR and VR platforms and all of the software aligned with the future of visual media. What we have created is based solely on the talent that we represent, an incredible roster of international creatives, a family of what I consider to be some of the best there is and I’m super fortunate to be able to offer my support and guidance to on a daily basis.
What makes H+ Creative unique compared to other creative firms and studios? Is there anything in particular that you’d like to share with our readers?
Hannah Stouffer: I’d like to think we’re incomparable. All of the artists that we work with have their own personal creative output, which I think is super important and love to be able to encourage that. As I’ve mentioned, we represent and work with artists that are focused on the future of creative visual media, this can be seen as digital illustration, CG work, 3D imagery and animations, experiential visuals and more. A lot of what we do is client based work and collaborations, though we participate in, host and curate exhibitions around our artists as well, giving them opportunities to feature their work to a much wider scale, oftentimes in the public domain and not just on a screen. We are in the process of continuing our exhibition platform THE PLUS, which will continue to do just that by offering a unique visual experience to both the viewer and the artists that we will be hosting in both digital and physical exhibitions. Our first show will be a soft launch the first week in December 2020, to coincide with our 5 year anniversary of Art Basel Miami.
What kind of visual services are offered at the studio? Are they only available to the talent on your roster and how can a creative maximize their potential while working with the studio?
Hannah Stouffer: We represent a tight-knit roster of top-tier international artists and work directly with clients and collaborators, specializing in everything from digital to traditional illustration, 3D, motion and animation to visuals and experiential installation. We handle creative both in-house and through our extensive team of creatives who we truly consider to be the best of the best. We offer support for both client based projects as well as any guided assistance for personal development and expanding their own creative process. Our history in both commercial illustration and fine art has guided both the direction and talent of the agency, and with over 15 years experience, we pride ourselves on the deeply-rooted network of talent we maintain in the creative industry.
About Talent Recruiting/Representation:
H+ Creative is described as “the future of visual media,” can you elaborate on that? Is there a specific theme, look, or vibe the firm looks for when going through submissions?
Hannah Stouffer: There is a common, cohesive visual thread amongst all of the artists we work with that is undefinable- it is the future of visual media, because that is our focus. Whether it’s in the content, the software or the output, all of our talent is pushing their own boundaries and extending beyond what has already been done. Our roster and the talent we work with and represent is a very conscious, curatorial effort––unlike most agencies and representation firms that might just be looking for something ‘sellable’. For us, the visual art comes first, and I know it when I see it. There is so much amazing talent out there, but I am really attracted to the vibrancy of the artists that we represent and their strong personal creative base.
What does representation from H+ entail? How does a creative benefit from being a part of the creative studio’s roster?
Hannah Stouffer: The basis of H+ is the strong creative community that we support and share. We are frequently pushing for new partnerships, experiences and collaborations, and our represented artists are at the front of these efforts.
We maintain personal relationships with a select group of artists, allowing them to focus on creating, while we handle the rest. We offer consulting service and assistance in all aspects of artist/client communications and administrative duties. We provide a hands-on approach to creative development and client management. Each of our roster artists is unique, with their own objectives and working styles. We respect that individuality and develop strategies that match their artistic objectives to specific client needs. We offer support to our artists with consultation, outreach, guidance, promotional marketing and so much more.
We spend a great deal of energy and effort on physical and digital outreach. We also encourage individual launch promo, assistance with exhibitions, we are open to anything! We have an active social media and new client outreach team, conducting artist features and interviews, and sending out email newsletters to our existing and potential future clients. We often focus on directed new client outreach, putting our artists' work in front of possible dream clients to create new partnerships.
Besides accepting artist applications on your website, how else does H+ build its roster and seek new talent? Do you have any advice for potential creatives?
Hannah Stouffer: We love receiving submissions and seeing what new artists are creating. We do occasionally accept submissions for represented talent or our extended roster, but for the most part we bring artists on by invitation. For us it isn’t growing as big as possible, it’s about maintaining an incredible level of quality amongst our tight knit talent. For creatives that are currently seeking representation or looking to grow their career, definitely keep creating! Strive for a cohesive portfolio with a distinct style and work towards building up your own personal work. Grow and learn as much as possible, focus on creating and getting your work seen. Feel free to reach out to us in the internet ether anytime!