By Sydney Lee, February 2021 Issue.
If you can remember being a bored child in class, more often than not, you’d find yourself drifting into a land of make-believe and doodling all over the margins of your college-ruled notebook.
Most times; doodles never leave the confines of notebooks, however in the case of renaissance man Sean ‘Hoylarious’ Hoy, they might be the best way into social circles and a new art exhibit.
Hoy will be presenting his whimsical paintings as the featured artist at Exposed Art Studio & Gallery in the middle of the Melrose District through Feb. 27. As the gallery is following COVID-19 guidelines, appointments and masks are required. Facebook streams will also occur.
Sean, a “self-taught painter, philanthropist, and minimalist,” embraces his quirky humor and expresses it through his murals, improv, and cartoons. “I always have drawn. I actually have a report card from second grade that says, ‘Sean wastes too much time drawing cartoons instead of doing his work.’”
Hoy grew up in an Irish Catholic family. His father worked at The Washington Post and then became an educator in Syracuse, New York. They moved to Arizona in the 1980s. “We took like, 12 days to get here from New York. We had to stop everywhere that like a poet was born or because he was an educator."
Drawing was always present throughout Hoy’s life, taking inspiration from Mad Magazine and Monty Python sketches. “So, again, I literally would, this is a true story as well, I would draw like sheep, like in second or third grade and sell them for a nickel or a dime, or $1,” he said.
Hoy also took inspiration from the editorial cartoons found within the newspapers his father would bring home, admiring the simplicity and the humor found in the drawings. This led him to pick one of his many careers of being an editorial cartoonist himself.
“I was really influenced by that sort of medium. And again, it was more of the wit and the writing than it was the drawing. I’ve never really taken an art class. But I’ve always used that,” he said. All of his cartoons reflect different messages depending on the subject matter. While working at Arizona State University, the cartoons described current campus events or national news.
“It could really be any message, but my only thing is the whole funnel of it, honing it down to one visual and a sentence or so. And I don’t go for like the belly — I like laughter — but I go for thought-provoking,” Hoy tells Echo.
The artist uses doodles to start his cartoonist process, letting thoughts transform into drawings as he comes up with ideas. He then will funnel his various doodles into multi-layered ideas that push the boundaries. Another method Hoy uses to find inspiration is working out through running or lifting weights at the gym.
“I’ll go run like three miles, and I go lift weights at the gym and stuff like that. But I like doing things by myself. I’m a solo type person, even though I like crowds,” He said.
Even with COVID halting most in-person art events, it hasn’t stopped Hoy from discovering new ways of self-expression and artistic opportunity.
“COVID took me and said, ‘Dude, start going towards your art, you’re painting and just expressing yourself.’ Where there’s strength, there’s opportunity. And I just took the opportunity and went and bought 40 canvases, went to Home Depot, bought a bunch of paint, just started just painting and sending them out,” he said.
Not one to shy from opportunity, Hoy, post-COVID-19, may pursue more acting roles after participating in a table reading with the Chandler Film Festival.
“It’s just like, man, I want to get back into I mean, there’s a time when I just cried, I was crying from this piece. But I just like being in the now so much. And so, I really want to tap into that sort of side of me, ironically, where I feel more confident myself where and I could go and take those risks,” he says.
Sean Hoy, despite his varied background in art, stays true to the one motivation that keeps him exploring new mediums. Humor.