Teacher shares her art through business ventures

Allie Keim | The Chronicle

Through prints, paints and perspective Mason High School (MHS) teacher takes her art out of the classroom. 

MHS visual arts teacher Hannah Zimmerman created her own art business two years ago, selling her prints and greeting cards. Zimmerman has expanded her business throughout the years to share her deep passion for art. 

Creating prints of her original art also allows Zimmerman to share her work with a wider range of people. Zimmerman said that she appreciates reaching new audiences by selling her art at both exhibits and her maker markets.

“With my business, what’s been really fun is the ability to directly connect with customers and be able to share my work,” Zimmerman said. “I have a way to build a community through the artwork that I’m creating to people who can relate to it.”

Zimmerman sells her art online as well as at markets and exhibits. This December, Zimmerman plans to travel to Chicago to sell art at the Renegade Craft Fair. However, Zimmerman said the schedule of being a teacher, artist and entrepreneur is quite time-consuming, especially when traveling around to attend different opportunities. 

“It’s been a learning curve in terms of figuring out how to prioritize my time and how to manage my schedule so that I can maintain both,” Zimmerman said.  “As a teacher you have to give a lot of yourself throughout the course of the day. And so most days, I don’t have the energy to continue creating creative work.”

Along with in person pop-ups, Zimmerman promotes her art through social media. She started her public art Instagram account in 2017 as a way to post her creative work, share her upcoming schedule and creative process. 

“[Social media] ends up being a really fun way for me to give a behind-the-scenes look into my work,” Zimmerman said. “Marketing and continuing to promote the actual commercial side of my business and my studio practice is something that I have a goal of continuing to work towards. “

Zimmerman’s work revolves heavily around her perspective as a woman. Zimmerman said she enjoys having a feminist presence in her art and often pulls inspiration from her female family members. 

“[My art style] is largely based on my personal identity,” Zimmerman said.  “I work through an introspection of domesticity, femininity and identity and how those things come together.”

Zimmerman said she does not display her own art for her students because she wishes for them to be independent in their artistic style. However, she instead enjoys sharing acquired knowledge on the functions of running a business with her students. Zimmerman said she hopes they can learn from her experiences as she also learns from her students.

“I feel the biggest thing my students have taught me is the sense of openness,” Zimmerman said. “They are in the early stages of figuring out their artistic voices and so they are hungry for new ideas, topics, artists and new ways of both working and thinking.” 

Zimmerman said art overall allows her to contextualize the world around her. While teaching is her full-time job, she is passionate about her own art and the business side of it. Zimmerman said she hopes that through the sharing of her experiences, all students will recognize the lives teachers have beyond the classroom and how it shapes who they are.

“I keep my teaching practice and my studio practice fairly separate,” Zimmerman said. “My studio practice is an opportunity for me to really connect with my own identity and who I am as an individual, and so I’m able to focus on my own memories, my own goals, my own expectations of myself my own understanding of reality and contemporary social issues.”