Anne Thalheimer

Written by: Taylor Kovarik and Tori Sullivan

When you see one of the creations that Anne Thalheimer crafted, you can’t help but give into your impulses and smile. With huge eyes and cute pointy teeth, the monsters that star as the focal point of Ms. Thalheimers work are anything but the scary monsters that you find under your bed. Her work for her company called “ My Monster Hat” extends from paintings to buttons, comic books to bags, and of course hats. Being a resident of Holyoke, starting her art career there just made sense. She has worked as a Zine writer and an Autobio Commix artist in Holyoke for over two decades, so creating My Monster Hat there allowed her to become more involved and engaged in the art community of western Massachusetts. When asked about her opinions on the artistic redevelopment of the city of Holyoke, Anne stated: “I feel like Holyoke is still finding its way with arts in the city and the intersections of art and commerce”. She voiced concerns about making sure that art remains affordable to patrons who want to access local products.

Looking at Ms. Thalheimer’s artistic creations, we notice that the focal point of her work is monsters. Not scary, give you reoccurring nightmares monsters, but shy and cute ones. She stated that she simply likes monsters and loves the idea of creating something adorable and endearing when typically we think of them as big and scary. The result is a diverse group of goofy and playful monsters all integrated into a variety of different media. When one looks at some of her art, they may notice that she plays with the balance of colors and creatively works with colors and exaggerated teeth and eyes. With her background as a cartoonist, she was curious about whether she could create expressions with her work. With a non-drawing medium, this can be difficult and as a result, she found herself creating monsters with silly moving eyes who’s overstated appearance gives the monsters character.

Like many artists, Ms. Thalheimer is inspired by her passion and love for creating different one of a kind pieces. She often does custom work for patrons and this is her favorite part of the artistic process. Being able to make unique and quirky items that are personalized for her customers drives her work like nothing else. She brings all sorts of different playful aspects to her work by not being afraid to experiment. Sometimes she’ll work with unusual colors, or add horns or other little twists to make every piece of art she creates a little different and very special. Since everything she makes is different, she loves to watch people go through her bins of hats at art shows and try on all sorts of hats until they finally find the one that they love.

When asked what she would do if she had five million dollars to invest in My Monster Hat and its role in Holyoke, Anne said that she would love to open a Hat-o-Mat booth. She will often go to different art shows with just fabric and have people pick what they want right on the spot. She says this personalizes the process and really allows her to engage with the customer in a unique and intimate way. She says: “ I like the transparency of that process too; people can see the way I make things and feel like they’re a part of it, even if they don’t sew or don’t want to”. Ms. Thalheimer would also use the money to further develop an art block of sorts. She would want to create a big studio that had sewing and textile space along with an area for showcasing art as well as a visual art performance stage. She would base the idea on the ARTery, which is an organization in Holyoke that works with upholstery and quilting needs, but Anne would like to see something with a little more flair that has its roots in being an art based space. She would love to see more diversity and expansion in terms of variety of business ownership and arts programming in Holyoke.

My Monster Hat and Anne Thalheimer represent the cool and cultured feel of the arts in Holyoke. The quirky creations and the at home roots of the artist and her organization are inspiring and worth checking out. Her vibrancy and excitement about working in Holyoke and expanding the local artist scene was refreshing and attention grabbing, giving us no doubt that she will be successful in any endeavor she undertakes.