the ladies of girl skin redefine the beauty of gore


Name: Hayden Currie & Hien Hoang

Location: San Francisco, CA

Instagram: @girl_skin_  


Noting the glamorous popular culture depictions of sexual, violent, and capitalistic themes in their work….two artists came together to deride symbolism through their own creative spin in illustration and digital design. Although it may be seen as disturbing in nature, their work is a mix of beauty and blood. They hope to expand as a collaborative community in the future, bringing art forms into the everyday world.

Meet Hayden Currie & Hien Hoang, the ladies of Girl Skin.

Hi both! Pop Is so excited to welcome san francisco based creatives, our first interview with local artists. So interested to learn more about how you two came together to form Girl skin.

To start off, mind telling us a bit about yourselves, how you met, and what you do now?

Hien: “Girl Skin is a collaboration between two artists currently, myself and Hayden Currie. We met in 2017 at an art show Hayden curated called the "Mystical Experience" in Oakland. Previously, I had gigs as an assistant to a mural artist and as a costumer for local theatre, but I currently work professionally in digital design.”

Hayden:  “I was born and raised in New Zealand. When I was six, my family visited my great aunt who lived in California. She was a colorful character and we kept in touch. I was influenced by American pop culture growing up, and remained obsessed with the vast, mysterious place it came from. After winning the Diversity Visa (Green Card) Lottery in 2016, I moved to San Francisco. I make psychedelic comics, paintings, and digital illustrations, and I work at a paint studio in the Fillmore District.

“Dreams, altered mind-states, music, nature, and the world around us.”


that’s so amazing that art brought you two together to create.

Why don’t you tell us a little more about your creative background. Who (or what) motivated you to begin creating? How long have you been making artwork?

Hien: “I doodled throughout my childhood and teenage years. I remember once trying to convince my mom to send in my version of the turtle that I saw in a magazine ad that claimed to recognize artistic talent. I was not exposed to art as profession until my first summer gig as a costumer for a government-funded program that produced youth-led musicals. During that time, I also became involved with set design by helping to sculpt stage props. That experience led to three years off and on working as a costumer and it exposed me to different creative mediums. I eventually made my way into design and took a break from making art until I met Hayden. We started Girl Skin a year after.”

Hayden: “I've been making art for as long I can remember. When I was little, I made staple-bound children's books illustrated with crayons and felt pens. The stories in the books often contained violent imagery with characters inspired by our stuffed animals. In one of the stories, my brother's tortoise, Little Deedle Fozzie, murders Bambi with an axe. We grew up on a farm that raised animals for slaughter and my books were partly a response to my immediate environment.”


A lot of your work features your depiction of gore. Where did your interest in this start?

Hien: “We noticed a trend of popular culture glamorizing violence, sex, and extreme capitalism. Our work provides a satirical view of this hyperreality.”


You mentioned EARLIER that you are interested in fostering a local arts community AS WELL, in what ways are you hoping to expand beyond creation and focusing on collaboration?

Hien: “Right now we hand make all our products in our studio apartment, but in the future we'd like to collaborate with more artists. We'd like to extend our work and hope to create an experience from the consumption of art. One idea that we are toying with is to subversively incorporate art into your everyday routine, such as producing a line of organic DIY beauty products. We're being vague intentionally, since we're still developing this idea.”


What are some of your goals for the future (short or long term)?

Hayden: “Our long-term goal is to make more art in different mediums, including 3D-printing, film, animation, and performance. Our short-term everyday goal is to find a way to keep our bills paid and make as much art as possible.”

What inspires you?

Hayden: “Dreams, altered mind-states, music, nature, and the world around us. We're both big fans of surrealist art, underground comics, classic Simpsons, and the films of directors like David Lynch, Paul Verhoeven, and Andrzej Żuławski.”

Hien: “We also both read voraciously and share similar political views. Sometimes we develop an idea for a new piece from just discussing current events. I highly recommend talking to someone, even if its a "dull" topic, if you ever find yourself in a creative rut.”

“We noticed a trend of popular culture glamorizing violence, sex, and extreme capitalism. Our work provides a satirical view of this hyperreality.”

hIEN h.