Haley Tippmann’s illustrations create a sense of home in a world of collective lockdowns
With lockdowns coinciding with a move to the countryside, the Koblenz-based illustrator has been creating illustrative interiors to evoke a sense of home.
- Lucy Bourton
- 22 April 2021
- Reading Time
- 3 minute read
It won’t be news to anyone that the past 12 months have affected the way we feel about home. In lockdown, many of us have begun to ponder on the space we occupy. For some that’s meant taking the time to rearrange, decorate and even move, or more abstractly consider the concept of what it is that makes us feel “at home”. The work of Rochester-born, but now Koblenz-based illustrator Haley Tippmann represents this often melancholic feeling. In her pieces, Haley manages to evoke a sense of days spent at home, where long evenings are spent doing nothing much at all.
Haley’s work has often communicated an everydayness, but, when the world was a little more normal, she depicted the daily hustle and bustle. Her earlier pieces were often of cafes, juxtaposing the quick moving hands behind the counter with friends chatting aimlessly on the other side. They were also a reflection of Haley’s life at the time, when she was living in the city centre of Weimar. Her switch in subject to homes is not only due to the pandemic but also a move in her own life, now living out in a little village in the German countryside and surrounded by farmland.
In her new home, with little much to do (due to obvious reasons), it’s actually been walking that has inspired the illustrator to draw more domestic scenes. “I try to go for a walk every day, no matter the weather, and those walks are extremely important to me,” Haley tells It’s Nice That. Catching glimpses of other homes on these routes, her newer work feels like snapshots of memories of houses once visited, both in detailed drawings of living rooms or the view she sees through a window. An example she points to is a drawing titled Summer Window, a scene she drew last summer of a house in her local neighbourhood. “The time of day was maybe 7pm, there’s something about the lighting and time that is kind of moody and it reminds me of my walks, but also a summer air that makes me feel at home,” she says of the piece.
Reflecting on what reminds the illustrator of her home across the pond (where she hasn’t been able to visit since 2018), drawing this piece “made me question, where is home?” Drawing contrasts in her mind between American and German architecture, or “little things” like the way the “sunlight or even the air in Germany is so different compared to upstate NY, it really hit me that I am not ‘home’,” she says. “But Koblenz is my home now, which is also nice!”
This shift in illustrative focus for Haley has been a reflective experience. Before the pandemic she would often work from photos she had taken, or build upon quick sketches she’d made on the move. “I have had to take a closer look at everything around me, like the houses in my neighbourhood or creating made-up living rooms and interiors,” she explains. These are often inspired by daily life again, but this time pulling references from films or “looking at vintage homes, home plans, and ads from back in the day”.
Having her illustration practice to focus on in this time, with thanks to her own inventiveness of switching subject matter, has been of great comfort to Haley also. “I think if I didn’t have art as an outlet through all this, or any tough time in life, it would be much harder mentally.” Drawing scenes such as those mentioned has been a way to accept the dramatic difference the pandemic has placed on our lives, allowing Haley to also add “a lot of perspective to my work, since I have been drawing mainly homes, interiors, and people in those settings, and I think since I have been choosing subject matter most of us see everyday – inside our homes – that it feels familiar and therefore a little calming,” not just for the illustrator but audiences too.
GalleryAll images copyright © Haley Tippmann, 2021
Haley Tippmann: Stay At Home (Copyright © Haley Tippmann, 2021)
About the Author
Lucy joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in July 2016 after graduating from Chelsea College of Art. In October 2016 she became a staff writer on the editorial team and in January 2019 was made It’s Nice That’s deputy editor. Feel free to get in contact with Lucy about new and upcoming creative projects or editorial ideas for the site.