Hatley & Co.
When I started at Emily Carr, I assumed that the only way to produce art was to create something perfect. I would view my paintings and illustrations with a critical frustration over the lack of that finesse, an anger that it didn’t fit into what I thought my work should be. It’s taken me four years to unlearn that philosophy, and it’s only now, that I finally feel like I’ve achieved some type of artistic practice I can stand behind.
This past year, instead of creating the art I thought I needed to create, I began to illustrate the things I adored. Vibrant cohesive colour palettes, tiny minuscule details, and fantastical creatures from my wildest dreams. This is the place my grad project has stemmed from, Hatley has been the culmination of unbridled happiness from a lack of limitations and a broad imagination. At first, he began as an exercise in worldbuilding, and eventually, he became the star of his own story. Hatley is an intellectual property that has led me to create countless original illustrations and the premise and beginnings of his own picture book “Hatley the Mail Frog”.
Born and raised in Ailuri by his three Uncles, Alfred, Atticus, and Thelonious, Hatley is just a sweet little frog who dreams of grander things. Whilst being very kind, Hatley is perhaps not the brightest frog to grace the earth. But with a big heart, and happy temperament, you would be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t like Hatley. Right now Hatley isn’t quite certain what he want’s to do with his life, but his dreams are filled with just a bit of magic that tells him, that maybe, somewhere out there, a grand adventure awaits.
As the creation and exploration of Hatley progressed, so did the world he lived in. Hatley began to have friends, and live in a strange little town named Ailuri with even stranger characters living alongside him.
What did Ailuri look like?
Where did Hatley spend his time?
What were the townsfolk like?
Who ran Ailuri?
What kind of businesses did Ailuri have?
As each of these questions came up I began to explore them further with in-depth illustrations that helped me to understand Hatley’s place in this new world.
Hatley the Mail Frog
All of these aspects culminated in the beginnings of a children’s picture book “Hatley the Mail Frog”. This story follows Hatley as he agrees to watch his Uncle Atticus’s post office for the day, dealing with all the strange requests from customers and eventually learning when there’s a time to say no and to not let others take advantage of your kindness.