by Alexandra Fairweather
WITH A BOLD, VIBRANT VISION OF MAKING ART ACCESSIBLE TO EVERYONE, HER NEXT MASTERPIECE MAY BE AS CLOSE AS THE NEAREST SHARPIE
"I wish we could make basic things more beautiful," explains Isabella Huffington, the gorgeous, confdent 22-year-old whose art has already garnered attention from the likes of André Leon Talley, André Balazs, Mika Brzezinski, Randi Zuckerberg, and Fareed Zakaria, to name just a few. The California native, daughter of media mogul Arianna Huffington and former Republican congressman Michael Huffington, graduated this spring from Yale University and is ready to take on New York. As the two of us met for lunch one weekend this spring at Bottega del Vino, we covered everything from the accessibility of art in today’s society to the tyranny of social media to Huffington’s philosophy on life.
“The first piece of art I made was in 10th grade. It was a mess up; I made a bunch of mistakes. Art is the one place where I allow myself to mess up. And when I do mess up, gorgeous things happen,” explains Huffington. The young artist is known for using Sharpies on museum board to create her beautiful pieces. “I was in a bookmaking class, and I started using Sharpies and thought, these are fantastic—because I love bright colors. It is a fun and accessible medium,” the artist recalls.
The accessibility of Sharpies reflects Huffington’s core values. “My main thing with art is making it accessible,” she explains. She even wrote her senior thesis at Yale about making art accessible through museums. “It is important to bring art to people that may not have had access to it in the past.” Huffington is seeking to address that lack of access to art across the world. “Art can be anything. It is up for the person to define what art is.”
Reflecting on the meaning of her own art, she reflects, “I don’t even know necessarily what it means until I’m done,” and for Huffiington, art is very much about the viewer’s response rather than one set interpretation provided by the artist. “We need things that make people happy. If people can look at it and meditate on it, that is the goal.”
Speaking of accessibility, Huffington is very interested in uniting her artistic vision with everyday objects. “I want to put my art on objects, tablecloths, napkins, wrapping paper, and so on. There are so many things that could be so much more beautiful!”
The two of us briefly discussed how we’ve noticed how artists often feel the need today to create brands, and create social media accounts, but Huffington has a refreshing perspective,a wisdom that allows her to see above the fray: “I don’t want to do that. I’m not a brand. I don’t want to waste my time doing that. I’m not into social media. I’m not into over sharing; my life is my life, and a lot of people feel that way.”
Looking towards the future, Hufngton reflects: “I didn’t dislike college, but college was in no way the greatest years in my life. The ones who are most afraid to graduate are the ones that think that learning ends when you graduate, when in reality, there is so much to learn after graduation.” The young artist is eager to start her next chapter. “There’s a whimsy in life we can’t figure out; there’s so much in life that you don’t know and you can’t understand and you can’t reason it. I very much feel what we do is intuition and when we try to overthink it, we end up making bad choices. I’m very type A, so I used to overthink everything and I ended up making bad choices.”
Now, Huffington is following her intuition as she dedicates herself to her work and begins the exciting journey that lies ahead of her.