Around ten years ago, Hannah ‘Pixie’ Snowdon began her life-long journey towards self-enlightenment. Since then, and throughout an awe-inspiring career, – which began with an affinity for tattooing and visual arts and organically evolved into an increasingly nuanced profession encompassing philanthropic initiatives – the talented and compassionate creative has dedicated her insurmountable energy towards harnessing the power of artistic expression for a higher purpose. Doing so, primarily, with the guided intention of building strong communities both on and offline. Where the personal experiences expressed through her art, become a tool for social mediation, providing honest and non-pervasive commentary on topics such as mental health, feminism, alchemy, astrology, sustainability, and self-empowerment.
A rebel with a cause, Snowdon has never been one to conform to society’s standards for happiness; furthermore, it’s unspoken rules and oppressive systems. Online, she’s built a safe space for herself to illuminate the lessons learned with regards to approaching the light and dark energies that she’s encountered throughout her life with open-minded objectivity. Resolvedly, her brave willingness to be so openly vulnerable has led to her Instagram account – (@hannahpixiesnow) -becoming a cyber-safe-space, where her 750k-strong following come to gain inspiration for finding the perfect balance when it comes to maintaining a fulfilling, well-balanced and non-destructive lifestyle.
Therefore, when NBGA got the priceless opportunity to speak with the woman behind the endless stream of art and inspiration, we couldn’t help but pick her brain about what impels her never-ending wanderlust and creative spirit, her definition of true beauty, her ongoing work and partnerships with ethically-run charitable organizations globally, and ultimately how we can all harness alchemy to conjure up some *magick in our own day-to-day lives; and by extension the lives of the like-minded individuals we choose to share our happiness with.
As a renowned tattooist, visual artist, and designer – what would you say inspires your creative spirit?
LOVE! It’s such a cliché, but my creative spirit is ignited when I feel most in love with myself and my surroundings; when my inner and outer worlds are in alignment. Therefore, when I’m centered, peaceful and open, ready to receive and absorb – that’s when I find that my inspiration is the most free-flowing and limitless. I think you can find inspiration everywhere when your eyes and your heart are open – wide open. So, I try to remain as committed as possible to being the alchemist, taking every experience that I may encounter and spinning it into pure gold; I see this process as true art. Throughout the tattoo’s and artworks I’ve created, I’ve found that learning and knowing how to utilize both the light and dark that enters our lives is how we all choose to paint the greater picture of a life well-lived.
How did you get into tattooing? Did you have any key figures/mentors in your younger life that encouraged you to pursue the arts?
Well, ten years ago now – at age 16 – I began working in the small street shop in my hometown. I was super academic at school, but I felt overworked and stressed by the time I hit the second year of college. Also, a lot of my friends at the time were much older than me and were instrumental in my craving for real-life experiences at that young age. I found that in tattooing. Growing up I was always drawing, so you could say it was a pretty natural progression.
As for my mentors and teachers, upon reflection, I believe that every single person I’ve met along the way has been a huge mentor. I’ve given so many props to certain people for being responsible for my growth in the past, but I’ve learned that everyone is human and that everyone is flawed; the truth is that my success is on me. After all, it’s our own responsibility to listen to the teachings we are presented with every day, to unlearn and re-learn, placing a heightened focus on the experiences and behaviors that cultivate discernment between what serves us and what doesn’t. Tattooing is, after all, like most industries, a hugely patriarchal system that is now evolving alongside the technological age and slowly shifting into more of a balanced industry.
Therefore, now I simply prefer to celebrate the friends I’ve made along the way. I’d say that getting tattooed by some of the most inspiring female artists that I’ve admired for years has been a real highlight of late. Primarily, I’m thankful for the experiences, as that’s where I believe the learning happens. Additionally, I’m thankful to all the beautiful families at the tattoo studios across the globe that I’ve built relationships with and thankful to all those who create art with an open heart and pure intention; I think right now it’s super important that I surround myself with people whose ideas resonate with mine.
Have you learned any valuable life lessons in the process of founding and running your own independent tattooing business?
I have learned true independence, being a young white female that has been raised within a patriarchal system – as has the rest of the world -, it’s clear to me that the feminine and masculine energy that contribute to the whole have been hugely imbalanced. I understand that this system is indubitably used to suppress us, to keep us in confusion and depression, and ultimately keep us from reaching our fullest potentials as human beings. In amongst all this, I know that having the independence of a craft has been a lifeline for me on many occasions.
Like many other women, I’ve been in a couple of incredibly unhealthy co-dependent relationships growing up and have experienced many of the generational pain patterns that we are all unpicking right now as a feminist collective. I guess tattooing has been the only constant in my life…other than my dog Dylan. It’s so incredibly liberating to know that you have a trade, to know that you can go anywhere in the world and find work. It’s priceless at times, especially when the rest of your world is seemingly caving in, having a craft and being creative, doing something that doesn’t feel like work is an absolute blessing.
How else has the industry changed since you began tattooing? How have you evolved with it?
It has changed completely since I began tattooing, and I think it will continue to evolve and change throughout my lifetime. I had no social media in the beginning and made a point at 18 years-old not to have it at all. However, when I started creating my own art, my old boss told me that I’d needed somewhere to showcase it. Instagram had just come out, and seemed pretty simple and straightforward enough for me to handle; so I ran with it and turns out that really worked in my favor – I’ve been at it for 7 years now! I guess it’s changed again now that these corporations like Facebook and Instagram are all pay for play, and I’m sure for people who run businesses on there like me, it’s had an adverse effect. I have many friends who are self-employed artists that have suffered due to the technological revolution. I’m just super grateful that all the right people continue to want to connect with the ever-changing work I find myself doing and showcasing online.
Personally, I’ve gone from selling roughly a hundred art prints every few months or so through my Instagram account, to utilizing that burgeoning audience to build an eco-community in Nepal. I think the transition has been a completely natural evolution over the last 5-6 years; along the way, raising tens of thousands of pounds for amazing charitable organizations using the power of artistic expression. We truly live in a time where people think we need more of everything to be happy. However, it seems to me that if we focus on the things that really matter (for example, our physical wellbeing, and mental health), then, in fact, we find that the simplest of pleasures cultivate the deepest levels of happiness. Well, that’s how it’s always worked in my experience anyway.
Over the years you have embarked upon your own personal tattooing journey, in adorning your skin with a gorgeous bodysuit. Throughout the process, you have shown others that conventional standards for beauty are often misleading and vacuous. What would you say is the true definition of the word beauty from your own perspective?
I think that true beauty is the acceptance of yourself in your own skin; furthermore, it’s the acceptance of the transient nature of everything. I know I have felt the most radiant when, paradoxically, I’m not thinking about my physical appearance at all. Obviously, we have all been completely culturally conditioned into believing that we need anything outside of ourselves. To believe that we must have everything that is seemingly out of our control, under our control, to be or feel happy. However, when you let go of the external when you’re feeling free – that’s when you feel true beauty.
I feel the most beautiful when I’m dancing ecstatically, loving intensely or soaking up the sun in complete presence and bliss – these are the moments in which I’ve embodied beauty in its purest form. The moments when I’ve really felt it, you know? Beautiful. It’s something way beyond whether I look my best or not that day, whether I’ve woken up with a pimple or bad hair! Also, I feel as if the more I’ve gotten heavily tattooed, the less I find myself caring about how I look physically. I’ve gone from being the sort of girl who spends an hour minimum every morning doing her makeup – to not even wearing it at all. I used to change my hair with every season during my adolescence, and now I’ve grown to put my priorities elsewhere. Energy truly goes where attention flows.
I guess my generation grew up with Barbie Dolls and Playboy standards for beauty. Brooke Shields even posed for Playboy in the nude at age 10 and that was only in 1975! I think we’re still unpicking some truly disgusting generational patterns of behavior. So sure, if we all want to continue to support the kinds of systems that we are currently enslaved by, those that are exploitative by their very nature, then let’s continue to idolize the current Kardashian standard for beauty. Obviously, everyone is on their own journey here, so I mean no judgment by these comments. However, if we’re truly living in a world where the Kardashians are the most publicly acclaimed family in society – as an example of the kind of dysfunction we should all strive towards – then I’m more than happy to live in the jungle with my dogs and my loves haha! I’d rather be somewhere where I don’t have to be insulted for embracing and relaxing in my own natural state.
I say this to provide an alternative perspective on the contemporary beauty standards we are overarchingly forced to adhere to, the cookie-cutter level of perfection that is becoming worryingly normalized, as I have seen the damage it has had on the mental health of my peers time and time again. I think it’s this level of awareness of our own thoughts and beliefs that are required, to again unpick these self-destructive behaviors and thought patterns and replace them with healthier mechanisms that do serve us.
You’re also an avid traveler and your tattooing career has taken you all over the world! I know you’ve taken a brave leap in moving your life to Nepal this year; I’m intrigued by what drew you towards this country as a place to call home?
Nepal is such a beautiful and naturally abundant place that has not yet been tainted by western ideals. I love this place because there is still the time and space to really set an example of what is possible when we choose to work in alignment with mother nature, instead of against her. I think it’s important to build your home and cultivate a lifestyle that is symbiotic with nature – rather than exploitative.
You’ve been cultivating labor of love for the past few years, working with a charitable organization in Nepal (Raksha Nepal) – whose mission is to eradicate the sexual exploitation of women and children in the region. Can you tell us about your Raksha family, and the work you’re doing out there at the moment?
I’ve been working with Raksha for the past 6 or 7 years now and was drawn in by the very authentic, grassroots nature of their charity. I honestly don’t know why I chose them initially, but I’d already been working on raising a bunch of money for a few larger – more morally questionable – charities out there, when I was put on to Raksha. I think once I became involved with the charity, I quickly started to practice discernment in raising funds and awareness for government-run organizations, as I learned that you cannot ultimately see where the money, time, and energy is truly utilized.
Furthermore, a friend of mine had visited Raksha on her own travels; she had been on a similar journey to me at the time, I’m sure – feeling a call to healing deep within and searching for places that offer beautiful healing feminine energy outwardly. When I finally put aside the time to go and visit the women and children there personally, my life was forever changed for the better. I was going through some very personal issues in my own relationships at the time, and the resilient women of Raksha Nepal were the catalyst to change that I really needed. They unconsciously offered me a huge perspective shift, which ultimately allowed me to find that healing I was searching for. Therefore, I like to continue to return the favor; that’s all I make time for now – this world can always use another pair of healing hands.
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Healing is best cultivated wrapped in a blanket of radical compassion. When we are shown kindness, patience, acceptance, vulnerability, humility, consolation, responsibility, courage, and gentleness we begin to trust in life again. We understand that horrible things have happened to us but they do not define who we are, we do. To those who are hurt in your life, or perhaps to yourself, wrap them and yourself up in a blanket of radical compassion. Allow growth out of the shell of pain from the past, and bloom into the hope of a beautiful future, into joy!🦋 #healing #compassion #nepal #rakshanepal #sisterhood #love #youarenotwhathappenedtoyou #stopthedemand #endviolenceagainstwomen #endrapeculture #bloom #courage #power #growth #joy
So we also hear you’ve been building a self-sufficient eco-community? Can you explain further what an eco-community is and how this project will help those in need?
That is the latest, yes! When I put the time aside to sit down and ask myself what truly mattered the most to me, all signs ended up pointing towards this goal. I must admit it was never my long-term plan, and I certainly would never have imagined that this is where I’d find myself a few years ago, but lo and behold, it has completely manifested before my eyes, one step at a time, and fittingly in the most divine timing.
A little context– flashback four years and I had just got married and everyone around me was also starting to settle down and ‘play house’. I guess at the time, the problem that arose was that it was exactly what everyone else was doing…playing. Kids, or at least adults with the emotional maturity of kids, trying to raise kids. I learned very quickly that it was just never a life that was ever going to truly satisfy me; being surrounded by such levels of dishonesty and insecurity. I guess I learned that we as humans will do anything to avoid looking into ourselves – including seeking out partners who serve as distractions from ourselves. It took some real isolation and introspection for me to really start cultivating healthier connections.
Fast forward to now, and I can say I truly understand that this is what community is all about. The dictionary definition reads that it is, “a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals”. At one pivotal point in time, I decided that community is what is most important to me –expressing true love and sharing experiences. I always say that you can’t fully share yourself with someone if you can’t even sit in a comfortable honesty with yourself. Furthermore, you have to embrace the shadow self to wholeheartedly accept yourself; and still, so many of us don’t even want to acknowledge that we have one. The moment we accept that we are all in a state of flux – constantly progressing, learning, and growing – it gets easier. No matter how hard we push against progress – it’s totally inevitable. So, we may as well work consciously towards something beautiful together, accepting the fact that we aren’t perfect and that we are here on this earth for a refining process; should we accept the challenge. I think building a community with other like-minded humans seems to make the process a hell of a lot lighter and more limitless – trust me!
That’s why, alongside my dharma partner Priscilla, I’ve started a registered organization in Nepal that advocates for regenerative culture and natural living solutions; focusing on individual and social growth in support of healing the divine feminine worldwide. On a ground level, we have secured a slice of paradise in Nepal, and we intend on building the most magical and self-sustaining haven for our ever-expanding global family. Our next step is to construct on our land, using a variety of natural building materials in a bid to elucidate what is possible when utilizing the abundance of natural and up-cycled resources. Of course, integrated with holistic living practices. Additionally, we have set up a Patreon platform where people can go to support us and even join us on the adventure as we merge our lives off-grid for the next couple of years in order to establish this community space that is built on the foundations of wellness, friendship and with an ethos for the regeneration of our planet and human culture. Our mission is to spark higher awareness and activate the higher callings of our collective in a way that supports a healthier, more harmonious style of living.
Your latest clothing collection “WITH LOVE” is ethically and sustainably made; not only this but the proceeds of every item bought goes towards the project. I’ve noticed you’ve been working with hemp fabrics; is there any particular reason why you chose to use this environmental ‘super-fiber’ to make clothes?
In three words – we LOVE hemp! It’s so naturally abundant here in Nepal. It has actually been discovered that the hemp plant derives directly from the Tibetan plateau, so I was surprised to learn that it is not being utilized here to its fullest potential – yet! Nepal suffered greatly from the U.S.-induced ban on cannabis hemp in the 1970s when already impoverished farmers were pushed into deeper poverty because of the loss of their cash crop. However, when hemp is being utilized for its non-psychoactive properties – not only in textiles, as it can also be refined and used medicinally, as a superfood and even in natural building materials such as plastics – this incredibly regenerative wonder-plant is a huge answer to so many of the current issues we face regarding our own individual health and that of our planet. On my travels, I have witnessed how different cultures around the world suppress their nature and how damaging this truly is; there is magick readily available all around us, growing abundantly for all those open to harnessing it.
You are quite open on your social media about self-empowerment and manifesting your dreams until they become a reality. You use the word magick to describe the synchronicities that ultimately show you that you’re on the right path in life. What does this word mean to you? Furthermore, do you have any tips on how we can all harness magick in our own lives?
Great question, where to start? Well, I think most people are already familiar with the concept of manifestation. Magick is – simply put – “the science and art of understanding change to occur in conformity with will”. It’s the science of understanding oneself and one’s idiosyncratic conditions, and then the art of applying that understanding in action. I touched briefly on this when describing my perspectives on beauty, alchemy, and inspiration. There is ground-breaking truth to the statement “where your attention goes, energy flows”. To build on this idea, I believe that energy does not discern or judge between light & dark – it just simply flows freely, abundantly, and without question.
I believe that you can retrain your mind to cultivate awareness over the passing of your own thoughts and consciously decide where to take them, choosing which thoughts to follow and which ones to let go of; rather than allowing your mind to run wild with potentially self-destructive theories. Once we are aware of this, we can begin to re-train the mind, gaining autonomy over our free will, spinning every thought into pure gold. Whatever this may be for us on an individual level – it’s all subjective. I have also found that the more people that focus on a particular goal or outcome, the faster it manifests. We get what we focus on, and true learning happens when we start to play with this priceless skill. You really do have to be careful what you wish for because all the old clichés really ring true.
I think in our day to day lives we can all play with magick simply by starting to sit in more awareness of our own thoughts and their patterns – witness what we are creating and play with it. If nothing else, do it for the betterment of yourself and mankind!