Woman Crush Wednesday: Hayley Eichenbaum
Hayley Eichenbaum is a young, determined, visual artist raised in Milwaukee and now resides in Los Angeles. She started her art career with degrees in studio art and illustration before she discovered her niche with photography. These images are from The Motherload Series, see more of her work here.
Interview by Hallie Neely
So I obviously have to talk about The Mother Road Series. These photos have received a ton of press and everyone seems to obsess over your Instagram account. Can you talk about your vision and about the very specific aesthetics of your images?
The Mother Road Series was not planned. Yet, I had always been obsessed with the kitschy and the cliché. Route 66 was a living embodiment of that. It’s all about being as colorful and as loud as you can be. Your business depends on it. And it’s romantic. The care that is put into maintaining these establishments is hypnotizing.
You're not formally trained in photography, but you clearly didn't need to be. What made you transition from performance & installation art to the art of photography and still images?
The two catalysts were travel and Instagram. I minored in illustration and always had an interest in the intersection of fine art and design. I don’t see many differences between the two. It boils down to concept, composition, and color. It feels natural to oscillate between 2D to 3D. I will utilize any medium that is most conducive to my overall vision.
You grew up in Milwaukee and now live in LA. Are you as inspired and enchanted by the west coast as you thought you'd be? What's your favorite part about it?
I moved to San Francisco at 18 to attend SFAI. My first love was Northern California. I was biased towards Los Angeles - Having this idea that it was one big façade. When I took my first road trip along Route 66 in 2015 and ended up in West LA, I felt both intrigued and afraid of this place. My favorite part is that it continues to surprise me. It pushes and pulls. And I want to stay in this undulation.
It seems like you make your best work when traveling and exploring. What states and cities elsewhere have you yet to travel to but plan to visit?
The Deep South and the Florida Panhandle. One city I have never been to, but cannot wait to document, is Miami. It’s calling my name. Louisiana is also a must.
Do you have a favorite photograph of your own or do you see them all as equals to each other?
I do not view them equally. That has a lot to do with the personal experience behind each image. One image that stands out is titled “Rest Stop in Kingman,” which features an illuminated Coca-Cola vending machine against a hot pink sky. Taken in early 2016 after receiving some devastating news. It was also my first road trip with my new dog - Our first experience as a team. It was a meditative moment.
Describe your creative process in one word.
If you could teach a one, one-hour class on anything, what would it be?
An exploration of metaphorical thinking. It's crucial.
What is the last book you read or film you saw that inspired you?
"War of the Roses," a classic cinematic goodie
What is the most played song in your music library?
"You Gotta Be," by Des'ree
How do you take your coffee?
This may be a disappointment, but I'm a hot chocolate kind of girl