As told to Constance Dunn
One third of the country trio Runaway June, Hannah Mulholland is a California-born creative who handles guitar and mandolin duties for the group, also made up of vocalist Naomi Cooke and Jennifer Wayne, the granddaughter of John Wayne. Music is just one of Mulholland’s creative outlets. Since childhood, surrounded by the canyons of Malibu and diehard support of her artist mother and lawyer/pianist father, she’s worked in a slew of fine art mediums, and is currently lending her vision to a collaboration with John Wayne Stock & Supply.
You are busy with Runaway June yet manage to make time for your artwork. Where does this discipline come from?
Starting from a young age, I’ve always had so many hobbies, and they’ve always brought me so much joy. I’ve always been painting. I’ve always been making music. I’ve always been cooking. A lot of the time our band schedule is so crazy, so we don’t really have time off—but I always have a sketchbook with me. Always. It’s not always about putting pressure to creating a finished product that’s going to be some amazing masterpiece. I have a little doodle sketch pad with an ink pen that I bring with me on the road. I work on ink drawings and things that no one will ever see. I love to get in my bunk and do that. It’s super therapeutic for me and helps me unwind.
Was there art in your home while growing up?
My dad is a piano player by hobby, and a lawyer by day. That’s where my love for music was born, because he really just played for himself, even though he’s such a beautiful player. I’m the type of musician who does a lot of it just for myself, and the joy I get out of it—that definitely came from my dad. The second it’s not fun anymore, I don’t want to do it. Then there’s my mom, who made a career out of her art. She’s a tile artist, and she’s always been so supportive of every type of crazy idea I ever had.
Are you inspired musically in the same way you are inspired with your fine art?
They’re both pretty similar in that I just love learning new things and figuring out what I’m able to do. While growing up there wasn’t necessarily one medium that I was super focused on. I loved exploring, and I grew up doing all of the fine arts. Eventually I moved into teaching. I was an art teacher for six years before Runaway June. You had to become good at whatever the kids wanted to learn, so I had to get really comfortable in a lot of different mediums.
What role does the American West play in your creative work?
There’s definitely a Western theme that runs through pretty much everything creative that I do. Both Jennifer [Wayne] and I are from California, and California/Western Country is a theme of Runaway June. Musically, it’s something we draw from, and a big part of our brand. In my artwork, that’s my favorite inspiration and it’s what I have all over the house. I collect Western artwork from other artists, and it’s what I enjoy painting.
Tell us about the inspiration for your collaboration at John Wayne Stock and Supply?
Interestingly, for the John Wayne collaboration, we were thinking, ‘What would be a really cool thing for merchandise?’ Well, Western landscape is something I love and something I grew up around. The palette, the colors are what I’m so drawn to. In watercolor, I really like to do illustration. So that’s where the John Wayne collaboration came, melding those two together and creating illustrative watercolors. So I have my Western landscape influences, and they are turned into line illustrations. I felt this would work really well for t-shirts and tote bags and other merch. There are these hard lines, and there are loose, watercolor strokes inside—then there’s finding where these two meet.
View Hannah Mulholland’s collaboration with John Wayne Stock & Supply at jwstockandsupply.com.