Tessa Hulls is an artist/writer/adventurer who is fascinated by the concept of home. As the daughter of two first-generation immigrants who landed in a tiny town of 350 people, she spent her formative years reading her way through the public library and roaming alone through the hills, and this love of solitude, research and forward motion informs much of her creative practice. Her restlessness has joyously dragged her across all seven continents, and her travels have led to everything from bartending in Antarctica to painting murals in Ghana to hosting book clubs in Denali National Park. After a 5,000 mile solo bike ride from Southern California to Maine in 2011, Tessa realized that for her, home means base camp: it's the staging ground she returns to between expeditions, and Tessa lives a semi-nomadic seasonal lifestyle that allows her to conduct creative field research in exceedingly remote places.
Tessa is a compulsive genre hopper and has worked in various capacities as an illustrator, cartoonist, editor, interviewer, writer, performer, chef, muralist, conductor of social experiments, painter, teacher, and researcher for organizations including The Washington Post, The Henry Art Gallery, The Rumpus, On the Boards, The Seattle Art Museum, Atlas Obscura, The Project Room, Washington Ensemble Theater, Washington Trails Association, Microsoft Research, and others. She is the recipient of grants from The Seattle Office of Arts and Culture and 4Culture, and is a Fellowship recipient from The Washington Artist Trust. She has been awarded residencies at Caldera Arts, PLAYA, Ucross, and others, and is the 2019 recipient of the PEN Northwest Margery Boyden Wilderness Writing Residency
She is currently in the middle of a nonfiction graphic novel exploring loss of language, cultural divides, immigration, mental illness, mixed race identity, mother/daughter relationships and the American fasciation with the frontier as told through the life story of her maternal grandmother, Sun Yi.
(She's gonna be working on this one for at least the next three years, so please don't bug her too much about when she is going to be finished with it)
Tessa also writes narrative vignettes about the hopes, dreams, longings and fears of Honeybucket portable toilets, and when not in Seattle, she can often be found (or deliberately not found) in Alaska.
Interviews and Press:
Folk Stories Podcast: Feeding Ghosts with Tessa Hulls
Rage, Liberation, and the Adventurous Life: Podcast interview with Lucy Bellwood
F*ck Impossible Podcast Interview with Mary Ann Thomas
Healing the Past: The Persecuted Journalist Who Fled Mao's China and the Granddaughter Out to Tell Family's Story
The Port Townsend Compass Podcast Interview
Tessa Hulls' Journey into Family's Past Uncovers the Life of an Extraordinary Woman
Artist/Writer Meets Performance Puppeteer
Interview with The Artist Rolls podcast
Art Nerd Seattle—Boylan Bingo
The Stranger Suggests
City Arts: And Other Lovers' Quarrels
Ca, J'aime Bien
Squidface and the Meddler
The 100 Interviews Project
Artists Who Interview: A Roundtable Discussion
Artists and Scientists Are Secretly Super Similar: A Presentation for Research Club Brunch