In November 2020, owner of Hannah V Fine Arts, Hannah Van Steenwyk, walked into La Luna Café with her husband in downtown Sioux Falls for the first time.
“We walked in and felt such a huge presence of peace at La Luna Café,” she said.
As she ate her lunch, her eyes wandered up to the ceiling and met the glow of moon-shaped lights. Her gears began to turn as an idea popped into her head.
“A mural that goes along with their jungle [and] space theme would be really cool,” said Van Steenwyk.
Before she left, she talked to the owners, and they loved the idea. So she drafted up the galaxy concept for a ceiling mural and got to work on the piece, which she is donating to the business.
“The entire family owners of La Luna Café have been so wonderful to work with,” said Van Steenwyk. “We’ve worked to put together many options for anyone to come and see the mural being created.”
Paint hit the ceiling in mid-January and should be done sometime in March. Van Steenwyk works on the nearly 1,000 square foot mural with a nine-foot paint brush between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. every Friday, along with other unscheduled times.
Van Steenwyk shared some background on herself as an artist and offered a glance into her personal life.
PEOPLE MIGHT KNOW ME FROM… the Washington Pavilion, from the several years I worked there in many of the departments and teaching. Or maybe [people would know me] from many of the events I’ve been part of and have held for years before I was married. Hannah Wendt Art was what I did before my last name changed.
“The last couple years, I’ve been so inspired by where we live. The South Dakota prairie is one of the most gorgeous landscapes in the world, in my opinion.”
I KNEW I WANTED TO BE AN ARTIST WHEN… I was in elementary school. I always wanted to be an artist or a teacher, and I’ve been able to be both.
I STARTED PAINTING BECAUSE… I felt like it was one medium that I needed to spend more time mastering. I actually have spent most of my art career mastering drawing with charcoal and graphite, only every once in a while dabbling in painting. In 2015 I painted using oils for the first time and fell in love with it. The rest is history.
MY FAVORITE WAY TO SPEND MY LEISURE TIME IS… diving into the Bible in the crisp, morning light; hanging out, playing music, or making up new card games or designs with my husband, Caleb; helping my parents remodel their gorgeous farmhouse out west of town; and cooking up something nutritious.
MY FAVORITE MEDIUMS ARE… powdered charcoal using a cloth (it’s fun but very, very messy) and acrylic or oil paints using a pallet knife. All that lovely texture looks so good.
“The composition is simple by design -not too busy that it would take away attention from others’ artwork on the walls, but still lots of movement to keep your attention.”
ART ISN’T MY ONLY CREATIVE OUTLET. I WRITE… art books, poetry, and children’s books. I have been able to weave in my love of writing directly with my artwork. I write art books that dive into my process behind each artwork, how they turned out, and more. I like to think of these as a really fun extra gift someone can have that goes along with their new piece of original art.
AS AN ARTIST, MY GOAL IS TO… give joy, comfort, and peace with grace to anyone who has a piece of art and anyone who I am around. Many of us could really use some more of each of those right now, and I’ve learned that I can help with that.
WHAT PEOPLE MIGHT KNOW ABOUT MY WORK IS… that I love to experiment and connect a story and depth to every single piece. I don’t know about you, but having art that’s just pretty is kind of boring.
SOMETHING THAT I’M EXCITED ABOUT DOING… is starting a series of murals in homes using 3D texture and folks’ rustic windows. I’ll be starting this super fun series soon.
WHEN I WALK AROUND DOWNTOWN, ONE OF MY FAVORITE PLACES TO STOP BY IS… well, aside from La Luna, which has actually become a favorite spot, CH Pâtisserie is great because I have celiac, and they usually have gluten-free treats to tempt me with.
SOMETHING TIMELY THAT IS INFLUENCING ME RIGHT NOW IS… getting back to our roots and the foundation that has been placed there for us of what’s right and wrong.
I LOVE TO GRAB A BITE OR DRINK AT… Cody’s Smokehouse BBQ down off south Louise Ave just before 77th Street with my huge family. Their daily specials are so delicious.
SOME LOCALS WHO I ADMIRE ARE… my mom and dad because they are the strongest, smartest, and most inspiring people I know, even though there are a lot of people [whose work and compassion] I really value in Sioux Falls. My folks have gotta come first.