justART! Sincerely Hana

Words by Alan Ng
Photography by Andy Fang


An up and coming DJ and photographer, with her recent appearances in art exhibitions across Vancouver and name on various posters on our city’s night life, people have been wondering who this girl is. We got a chance to sit with Hana at Bon’s to chat about her upcoming plans, how she got started with her hobbies and where she plans to take her skills in the future.

Can you please introduce yourself to our readers?

My name is Hana. I grew up in Whistler and I moved to Vancouver when about 15 and basically been in Vancouver since then. Gone through a couple of different schools and worked with many different jobs.

How did you come up with signature name “Sincerely Hana”

It started with me and two of my friends. We were DJing together and we needed a DJ name, so we sent out an email asking for any suggestions and signed it “Sincerely Hana, Dani and Justine” and everyone told us to use that. Justine left and then it was me and Dani for a long time but then she moved to New York, and now it has shortened to me on my own.

At the end of the day, do you consider yourself a DJ or Photographer?

Both of them I consider hobbies. I think that I’ve been a bit more serious with DJing and maybe doing it a bit longer, but I guess I see myself more as a multitasker. I have a day job that’s separate, I DJ and I take photos as well.

Your photography style is very pure, as they are mostly life style themed. What kind of photographer do you consider yourself?

I have always taken photos but never seriously, sort of as a hobby and sort of to document my life I guess. I don’t know, I guess it’s what I am photographing for. On my blog, it’s sort of just day to day stuff and friends, and places I’ve gone and things I’ve seen.

Yea I’ve seen your post with photography on dogs! There were lots of them.

I love dogs. I like taking photos of dogs and I use to live with my friend that was a dog sitter and we would have all these different dogs coming over to our house. I like shooting things that I am familiar with.

What got you started taking photos?

I think my dad took a lot of photos when I was growing up. He gave me a camera when I was pretty young. Then I brought a digital SLR last year and that’s really convenient because you can just take as many photos as you want and delete them as you go. I still shoot mostly film; I recently got a couple of my grandmother’s old cameras.

When was the point in time where your photograph got noticed and recognized?

I guess just having lot’s of friends that do the same sort of things. Alot of them are into photography are willing to help me out.Many of them went to Emily Carr and did the photography program there, it’s mostly just friend’s through friends. I haven’t actually sent my photos to anyone for business purposes intentionally.

Many people try to capture what they see on the camera. Other people step out to create a whole different world from what they see. What do you attempt to do and why?

I think you have to try to both. I think with photography, in some situations, you definitely want to capture the moment you are in. In other times, you want to create an image- step out. I don’t think anyone really sticks to one or another. You really have to keep an open mind

Has photography changed the way you look at people and your opinion on people?

I think in the sense of looking at other people’s photographs where you can see, I don’t know just seeing people’s photographs taken of other friends you can see people in a different light.

Being a photographer, you definitely like shooting people, what’s wrong with people taking photos of you?

Some people are photogenic and very comfortable with it, and other people are just like me. I would just think that I am always making really dumb faces.

How did you get into DJing?

My best friend was a DJ, and he had an extra set of turntables. He lent me his turntables and told me to start buying records, and that I was going to DJ with him. I was pretty much forced into in by him, haha!

Could you tell us who your best friend is?

His name is Jason a.k.a MY!GAY!HUSBAND!

Why do you think it’s that case that there’s more guys that are DJs over girl?

I don’t know why it’s mostly guy. I think a lot more girls are getting into it. I honestly don’t know.

Me either.

We just started an all girl DJ night called Golden Girls at Smiley’s in the business district. It’s basically a bunch of my girl friends that don’t know how to DJ and so I am teaching a bunch of my friends how to DJ. There’s like seven of us that rotate in.

What kind of music do you spin to and why?

I know a lot of people say this, but I truly like playing a little of everything. New stuff that’s coming. And I am fortunate where I can play at places where I can do a wide range of stuff. I use to do a night where we did themes every week. Where we would play one week of just David Bowie, or just punk rock, or just rap. I did that for almost two years, that really widened my range of music knowledge

Recently, you have spinned with one of the more well known DJs in Vancouver, Rico Uno. How was that experience and was there any pressure?

Definitely! Rico’s one of my favourite DJs and I always have a good time playing with him and I’ll get to play with him again for New Years!

Starting up as a DJ or photographer isn’t that hard in modern age with the aid of technology. What comments do you have on that and what are some of the pro’s and con’s of this trend?

When I first started DJing, it was before Serato so I learned on Vinyl, it’s pretty easy to learn to DJ with Serato you know. I think it’s really amazing to see people that play with vinyl.

What about photography?

Yup, I think it’s definitely a lot easier with digital, but people are still very passionate about film and you can definitely see a difference between film and digital. I think it’s nice to have that option. With digital you have the ability to test things out, where in film sometimes you don’t really know what you’re gonna get!

How has fashion been incorporated in DJing?

I think it allows people to add in a bit of their own personality and style. Before you could only get black headphones and now you can get headphones in different variation and colors and even custom made. Same with vinyl, with Serato records, you can get them in all different colors.

You have definitely stepped your feet into the right shoes in the sense of diving into the art subculture of Vancity. What challenges were there when you started in getting your artwork out there and started spinning for gigs? What advice do you have for people that are great artists but have trouble getting their name out?

I think I still have a really long way to go. I still have a lot a lot to learn. I think people just have to be true to themselves and not try to push to be something they aren’t just to get out there. They need to stick with what they are passionate about. If you are passionate about what you are doing, you will eventually get to where you want to be. Stay true to yourself.

Without social media, would it be as easy for your work to be able to circulate as much as it is now?

I don’t think so. Even with art shows, people don’t necessary know about a lot of things unless they see it online, many people are relaying solely on online sources solely to know what is going on.

Your new website is going to launch soon. What kind of new surprises are coming up with that?

I just want to post some photos, my favourites, eventually get up some mix tapes.

Sincerely Hana, all artists have messages that they want to spread, what’s your message that you want to portray through your art?

I think I already said this, but people need to be true who they are and not change what they are just to be seen or known.

What is HYPE?

Kim’s and Monika’s dance moves!