We had the good fortune of connecting with Brooke Hitchcock and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Brooke, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
I pursued an artistic career because creating was something that always came naturally to me, and as I got older I saw it as a personal strength and something that was unique to me, so I couldn’t imagine following another path. I’m fortunate to have a family that always supported my creative talent too. From the time I showed interest in it, my mom and I would spend hours drawing with a large sketchpad on our kitchen floor; and throughout my childhood my parents paid for art classes outside of school at a local art studio. Ultimately, I just loved having the ability to visualize and create beautiful things. My mom is pretty creative too, she often created floral arrangements to decorate our home with among other diy projects, and on top of that, other family members set creative examples that all fed my belief that it was possible to pursue my passions.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
As a fashion illustrator, I have a deep admiration for lovely things, and of course, fashion. My work is driven by the goal to take designer looks or garments and present them in a way that is unique to me. Historically, and like many other things, fashion illustration started as a way to communicate what a garment looked like before photography was as accessible as it is today, and over time it has become a really expressive way to showcase a garment.. In my work, I’ve always believed it was important to maintain a few key elements traditionally associated with fashion illustration: energetic line-work and feminine elegance akin to the iconic work of René Gruau and David Downton. I think my work stands out in my ability to pay respect to that tradition, but also find a balance between polished moments where I slow down to really give attention to details – could be the portrait, lace details or the transparency of a garment, etc – and other moments where I allow more spontaneous decisions to breath life into a piece, which I’m proud of. A lot of the work I’ve gotten as a fashion illustrator in Detroit has been centered around events – I’ve worked at retailers and hotels to provide customers with custom fashion sketches, and those opportunities have come from my network in the city. I’ve learned a lot as well, but I think it’s just so important to be kind and easy to work with. Another thing I’ve found along the way is to not be afraid of putting your work out there, and in that same vein, don’t be afraid to reach out to people/brands you’re interested in or want to share ideas for collaboration – as a generally reserved person, this is something I’m always challenged by, but always learning from.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If someone was visiting me in Detroit, there are several places we would have to visit! As an artist, the Detroit Institute of Arts is a must, of course there are the Diego Rivera murals to see, but I’m partial to a small room in the American section that has a handful of Thomas Wilmer Dewing pieces that captivate me every time. Another great site is Belle Isle, a small island that’s accessible by bridge is the Detroit River. It’s a great viewing point of the city, but also great for some time in nature and the conservatory there is full of exotic plants that grants an inspiring visit year round. I grew up with a love of books and hours spent shopping at Barnes & Noble and the local library books sale, so for me another must-visit is John King Books – a large, old building filled with all sorts new, used, and unique books – which is best for a day when you can happily get lost in the endless bookshelves. Another stop would be Eastern Market, every weekend there is a market of vendors of all kinds from local farmers to artisan goods; plus the area is full of murals by local and International artists that make the market a visual feast! A few food and drink recommendations would be Selden Standard in MidTown; downtown I recommend San Morrello, The Candy Bar for a beautiful setting and great cocktails, and Penny Reds for take out (trust me, the French fries there are GOOD); also, because my fiancé is Mexican, more often then not we’re probably heading to Mexican Town to El Nacimiento or Los Altos for some very good Mexican food!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
A handful of people definitely deserve credit for where I’m at! First, of course is my family for their support and never-ending belief in what I pursue. I also have them to thank for instilling my personal work ethic; my parents taught me how to dream big and believe in myself, but they also taught me the importance of always giving my best effort to any task and putting in the work necessary to achieve my goals. I’d also like to shoutout studio mates at GoldTop – people often talk about the lonely life that a freelance artist career can form, but I’m very lucky to share a space with artists (and close friends!!) who inspire me.
John Sippel Brock Kalnasy