Monday, June 22, 2009

Artist Interview: Aaron Hauck

OVAC Intern Kelly Lunsford is interviewing Oklahoma artists about their careers for the OVAC blog. The first of her interviews is with Aaron Hauck, sculptor, mixed media artist and professor at East Central University in Ada.

KL: When did you decide you wanted to be an artist?
AH: I don’t think I ever decided that I wanted to be an artist. As a child, I wanted to be a major league baseball player. Art was just something that I was always involved with.

KL: What is your educational background?
AH: I have a bachelors in Art Education from Missouri Southern and a Masters of Fine Art in sculpture from Montana State University in Bozeman.

KL: Much of your work deals with products of consumer waste. What was your inspiration to start turning trash into art?
AH: I am inspired by things I find and see on a regular basis. I spent a lot of time in grad school digging through dumpsters. I found a lot of really cool things that usually inspired a piece. The same can be said now; I try to let the material speak. Found materials have a visual context and a historical context that influence the form, process, and content of a piece.

KL: Coming off of your Honorable Mention at Momentum, tell us about your Polar Bear Sculpture, “Save Money, Live Better”
AH: The polar bear rug was something that I had been thinking about for a long time. It comments on the environment and how corporations effect the environment. A look out of any window in Oklahoma may reveal a landscape littered with white plastic bags. They get stuck in trees and fences and in a sense become part of the landscape. I wanted a way to use them to show this trend without being too literal. I looked at them and tried to make connections to the environment. They are white so that made me start thinking about things in nature that are white and are possibly being negatively affected in some way by man. The polar bear seemed like a good subject because it is a threatened species. Its habitat is disappearing due to the effects of global warming. If you believe in global warming you know that pollution is a major cause of it and these white sacks are a pervasive form of litter and also represent our dependence on major corporations that may be contributing to the decline of the natural environment.

KL: Why do you think it’s important to have art exhibited in shows like Rethink:Recycle:Redesign?
AH: I think it’s always important to show your work and participate in shows that raise awareness.

KL: Tell us about your collage piece titled, Grass Roots?
AH: Grass Roots was made from consumer packaging remnants that I collected over a period of about six months. Like the white plastic sacks, one can find old pizza boxes or frozen dinner boxes blowing all over the place.

KL: What is the most interesting thing about the way you work?
AH: One thing that I find interesting is that as I have gotten older my impetus for making art has changed. I used to make only sculpture. Since grad school I have began making work in almost all mediums. I now start with an idea and then decide what medium is most suited for that idea.

KL: You teach sculpture at East Central University. What is the best thing about working with art students?
AH: Art students are usually fun to be around.

KL: What were some of the highlights working on The Horse Project sculpture with the students?
AH: The highlight was seeing a major undertaking be completed on time and under budget. It was very challenging! It was the largest project I had ever worked on let alone the students. So seeing it hoisted up and into place was something that I will never forget! We worked very hard on it, sacrificing countless weekends, so it was good to see it finished.

KL: Who inspires you artistically?
AH: Many artists inspire my work. I look at art magazines and try to see as much art in person as I can. Tom Friedman, Vim Delvoye, Tim Hawkinson, Tara Donovan, etc.

KL: What is your Ah-Ha moment?
AH: completing my first sculpture and realizing that I enjoyed the process.

KL: What is your proudest moment artistically?
AH: Being accepted into grad school

KL: What music do you listen to when you are working?
AH: I actually don’t listen to music when I work. I used to, but not anymore. Sometimes I like to listen to NPR.

KL: What are you reading right now?
AH: A Sand County Almanac

KL: When you’re not working, what do you like to do?
AH: relax

KL: What is the funniest thing you’ve ever heard?
AH: that an art degree is easy to earn

KL: What are you working on next? What is your next big challenge?
AH: My next big challenge is learning Abobe Flash and Dreamweaver so that I can teach Web Design in the fall.

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