An illustrated life: Hana Jirickova

Hailing from the Czech Republic, you might recognise Hana Jirickova from her success in modelling – but her romantic, figurative illustrations are about to make her a name in the art world, too.

"I was born in a city called Brno, which is in the southeast of the Czech Republic. It was a great city to grow up in as it’s a lively and fun town with an old university and some amazing churches and museums. Then I went to art school in Prague. My life revolved around going to class and painting all day and night. I dedicated myself to my art and had some great teachers who helped to nurture their students’ talent. 

Now that I’m modelling, it’s really hard to have time for what I call my "first love". I have had to adapt, and while I can't always carry my oils and brushes, I’m sketching more with charcoal and pencils, I love that medium. I carry my sketchbook on all my travels – it’s my visual diary.

Right now, I’m so inspired by the female body. I’m also trying to capture the characters that I meet on my travels. People who I randomly meet and who have the kind of face that makes me want to draw them. It can be anywhere – on a plane, in an airport, on a shoot or backstage before a show. Body language or a simple facial expression can tell a thousand stories.

Living in New York now, I’m taking full advantage of the variety and the characters living here. It’s an incredible city for an artist. Since I’m very into figurative art, I love visiting the Neue Galerie. They have some amazing pieces.

My art is the most important thing to me, even though I’m modelling full-time. I’m often asked if I sell my paintings, and at the moment I don’t – I’m too attached to them to sell them. But to exhibit is definitely a goal. If I do something, I want it to be great, so maybe 2015 will be the year for me."