Award Winners / Artist Profile

About the Artist

Tessa Hulls (Port Townsend) is a multidisciplinary artist, writer, and adventurer who is fascinated by the concept of home. As the daughter of two first-generation immigrants who landed in a tiny town of 350 people, she spent her formative years reading her way through the public library and roaming alone through the hills, and this love of solitude, research, and forward motion informs much of her creative practice.

Her restlessness has joyously dragged her across all seven continents and she lives a semi-nomadic seasonal lifestyle that allows her to conduct creative field research in exceedingly remote places. She is currently working on a nonfiction graphic novel that uses the life story of her maternal grandmother, Sun Yi, to explore mother/daughter relationships, cultural divides, loss of language, mental illness, mixed-race identity, and the American fascination with the frontier.

In 2012, Tessa received GAP award funding to help support her as she creates a non-fiction graphic novel about her five months spent working as a cook at McMurdo station in Antarctica. Traditionally a painter working almost entirely in gouache, she expected to be influenced by the stark landscape and romanticism of the frontier. Instead she found herself utterly transfixed by the bizarre community she encountered, and felt both inspired and obligated to document it.

Information included above was provided by artist at the time of application.
From the Artist

Just before being notified of this grant, I was deeply questioning myself for making a series of life choices that put creative dedication before financial well being. It is difficult - if not impossible - to truly turn yourself over to your craft, to listen to it with the compassionate ferocity that it demands, if you are constantly worrying about how you are going to pay rent. Receiving this Fellowship has singlehandedly validated the decision to leap without a safety net, and it has given me the extraordinary gift of peace of mind. Over the years, Artist Trust has supported me both as an individual and as a member of a larger creative community, and it means everything to know that Artist Trust is out there helping artists make their best work.

Tessa Hulls