My work is illustrative and reflects my interest in stories of magical realism, patterns and the natural world. I think of each work as a piece of a larger narrative.


Hannah Costner lives and works in Raleigh. She received her BA in studio art from Meredith College.


From interview with HQ Raleigh

When did you first discover your love of art?

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t draw!

Where do you get your inspiration from?

So many places! I read a lot of fantasy and magical realism and that definitely influences my work. Also from other artists and graphic designers, and the music that I listen to. If it works, sometimes I’ll incorporate one of my houseplants into the work, or something I might have seen walking around. I also tend to have weird dreams, so I pull ideas from there too.

Who is your favorite artist?

That’s tough. Lately I’ve been into artwork that plays up its two-dimensionality, but still conveys some sense of realism with flat shapes or line work, so magazine covers from the 1910s/1920s, as well as the design/artwork of Chelsea Beck, Andy J. Miller, and Kristen Liu-Wong. I also love Jeff Wall’s photographs with their tension between what’s real and what’s staged and Andrew Wyeth’s paintings with their muted color palette and somber mood.

Are there any peculiar or odd things you do when creating a piece?

I don’t wear my glasses! I can see fine without them, except for having really poor depth perception, so I like to play into that when I’m working.

Describe your thinking process in deciding what to paint.

Usually I’ll have part of an image in my mind or I’ll know that I want to work with a specific element, like a goldfinch. I tend to sit on that idea for as long as I can, playing around with the composition and colors in my head. Once I’ve figured out a somewhat more complete idea, I’ll start some rough composition sketches and sketches of some of the individual parts, like the bird or maybe the flowers, before moving on to do the final sketch that I’ll turn into the pen drawing/watercolor.

If you could have your art displayed in any celebrity’s house, whose would it be?

The hosts of the Invisibilia podcast, Lulu Miller, Hanna Rosin and Alix Spiegel. Except I don’t think they live in the same house. So maybe they could share it?