About The Artist

My name is Hallie Bateman. I call myself an “illustwriter” because I write with words and images in combination. I’m the author of three books, Brave New Work, What To Do When I’m Gone, and Directions. Over the past decade, my work has been published by The New Yorker, The New York Times, Buzzfeed and many others.

I grew up on a mountain in rural Northern California. Perhaps influenced by my journalist parents, I was a prolific note-taker from a young age. I photographed each of our many animals. I eavesdropped on my brothers from the next room, crouching in the stairwell, writing down every word they said in a notebook marked PRIVET. I made movies and drew comics. I published a fictional newspaper about our pets and brought it to school to hand out.

This frenetic artmaking continued through high school. I never saw it as anything more than a form of play until my junior year of college. A creative writing major, I took an art class to fulfill a requirement. There, I picked up a nib pen for the first time. Something about drawing with that sharp, inky edge made me see my work with new eyes. When the art teacher strolled by and said, “That looks like it could be in The New Yorker,” I felt seen. I started to draw more, submitting illustrations with my poetry assignments, inking flyers for the college radio station and drawing comics for the school newspaper.

Writing, thus far, had proven to be a lonely experience. But when I combined art and writing, people responded to my humor and sensibility right away. They’d laugh or say “Me too!” or tell me that they’d been moved by my work. I learned that images and words together have a power that each alone lacks. In this new language, I found a way to connect deeply with others and myself. I found my purpose.

When I pick up a pen or paintbrush or crayon, I play like I did as a kid, or grapple with my own burning questions. Either way, I collaborate with some magical force bigger than myself. Making art requires me not just to look, but to see, interpret, translate.

I make art to shake myself alive.

I hope my work shakes you alive, too. I want you to see my imperfect drawings and think, hmm, I should draw more! I want my work to help you sense your smallness in the universe in a way that’s deeply freeing. I want to help you laugh at the absurdity of everything.

I’m here to tug sleeves and point at the moon. To ask you to fathom the miracle of your own existence, and the miracle of our paths ever crossing.