10 Questions with Sage Hulingues
-written by Nat Richmond
When were you introduced to Art? And, what impression did it leave on you?
I struggled with severe anxiety and undiagnosed Autism Spectrum Disorder as a kid, so I was always drawing and writing to 'escape'. I liked creating imaginary worlds where my anxieties and quirks weren't so much a problem, a place where everything just made sense. I didn't really get serious about pursuing art until I was a junior in high school. I still use my art as a form of escapism.
What's a work that has left a lasting impression on you?
I'm most influenced by animation. My favorite movies, Wolfwalkers (2020) by Cartoon Saloon, Howl's Moving Castle (2004) by Studio Ghibli, and Sleeping Beauty (1959) by Walt Disney Studios, have all left an impression on my work. I remember being mesmerized by Sleeping Beauty in particular as a kid; I just loved the painted backgrounds and gorgeous medieval influences in the character designs.
What's one word you would use to describe your Art? And Why?
Eclectic. I don't stick to one medium or style for long, and usually I bounce around with what and how I create. I draw, paint, write, sew, felt, sculpt, embroider, refurbish, and whatever else I feel like doing!
How do you feel that your works affect others?
I'm a storyteller at heart, so I hope that people are able to create their own interpretations of my work. I might have my own story I wish to portray, but I like hearing what others get out of my work.
What is your opinion on the rise of A.I. generated Art?
A.I. is just a tool, like any other medium. I think A.I. art has a place in idea generation and streamlining certain processes when it comes to composition decisions, storyboarding, possible set designs, etc., but like any tool it can be abused. Claiming a fully-A.I. generated art piece as your own creation is crossing into a grey area for me, on one hand, yes, someone put in the information necessary to create the art, but the A.I. engine is what produces the final piece, so in that sense it is the artist. But how does something with no humanity, no sentience, claim the title of 'artist' if it doesn't understand the concept of art? What I don't agree with is the sourcing of other artists' works by A.I. engines to generate art without explicit permission. That is an infringement of copyright, and it is already hard enough fending off human copyright infringers, let along A.I. ones.
Should Art have a limit or boundary? Why?
Art is entirely subjective. What I might say is 'going to far' might not be 'far enough' for someone else, and vice versa. Art is meant to make you think, whether it be about a story, a philosophy, a theology, or any other number of things. And it doesn't have to be deep thoughts, either; if a child's drawing of a rainbow makes you think happy thoughts, then that's art. Art is protected as free speech by the First Amendment. If we put a boundary on what art is or isn't, then that would bring into question what limits there should be on free speech. Someone might not like what a particular piece has to say about a certain topic, but that doesn't mean they have the right to prevent someone else from viewing it.
How would you like to evolve over the next 10 years?
I would like to find more peace and joy in my work. After getting my MFA in Illustration, I didn't really make any art for a year and a half aside from a painting or two. I was just so burnt out, and I was holding myself to such impossibly high standards as to what my art should be. I had forgotten how to make art for art's sake, not for anyone else's. It's something I'm still working through, and I'm slowly coming around again to the philosophy that art doesn't have to necessarily have a deep meaning, it just has to be something I enjoy.
How does your Art contribute to the human experience?
I'm still trying to figure that out. Like I said earlier, I used to hold my work to impossibly high standards. I used to think my work had to change the world somehow in order to be considered 'real art'. I'm gradually learning not to think that way anymore; it's not a healthy state of mind for me to be in. If my work makes one person happy, then I've done all right.
Are there any songs that inspire the creator in you?
Anything by Imagine Dragons, Broadway soundtracks, and sea shanties. Like my art, my taste in music is also pretty eclectic!