What Matters: Artist Heather Crank on Speaking Up and Her First Set of Markers

Posted inDesign Inspiration

Debbie Millman has an ongoing project at PRINT titled “What Matters.” This is an effort to understand the interior life of artists, designers, and creative thinkers. This facet of the project is a request of each invited respondent to answer ten identical questions and submit a nonprofessional photograph.

Heather Crank is an award-winning visual artist and designer. Her films have been showcased at the Guggenheim, SUPERNOVA Animation Festival, Meow Wolf, Night Lights Denver, and RESFest. Heather holds a BFA in graphic design from the California College of Arts and is a recipient of the Adobe Achievement Award as well as a silver IDA.

What is the thing you like doing most in the world? 

Using creativity to connect, inspire, and create wonder. I love the idea of magic. I also love championing people doing amazing things, dancing, and performing.

What is the first memory you have of being creative? 

My first memory of being creative is around age seven or eight. My mom bought me a giant marker set, and I would spend hours drawing. I remember loving to create mermaids, the scene of Lincoln’s assassination, superheroes, rainbows, and flowers.

What is your biggest regret? 

My biggest regret is not standing up for myself enough and fighting for the promotions I deserved. But it took me a while to permit myself to exist and feel like my voice was valid.

How have you gotten over heartbreak? 

Time. Some heartbreak has become part of who I am, like a scar. It’s changed the way I show up and challenged me to go deeper into how I define myself and what really matters.

What makes you cry? 

Beauty and cruelty. This is an incredible world of the most exquisite light and the darkest shadows.

How long does the pride and joy of accomplishing something last for you?

Five seconds. Maybe.  

Do you believe in an afterlife, and if so, what does that look like to you?

Yes. I have “gifts” that have allowed me some basic understanding of an afterlife. I used to think of this sensitivity as a curse because it was a difficult thing to grow up with. No one understood, and I spent a lot of time alone. Having this gift doesn’t mean I don’t experience grief. I just know that there is some kind of existence after people pass.  

What do you hate most about yourself? 

My clumsy communication. I feel like I’m often misunderstood and seen as aloof. But I’m really super sensitive, empathic, and shy.

What do you love most about yourself? 

That is really hard. I’m not sure “I LOVE” this about myself, but I trust in my ability to see or know the truth in a situation.

What is your absolute favorite meal? 

Chocolate. Does this count as a meal?