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It’s no surprise that as an artist I believe art is good. Not just paintings or
sculptures but anything that can make me see new possibilities, open my eyes
to new realities and make me feel some sort of awe inspiring flow that’s
bigger than my usual self. And simply put, there are amazing things out there
that make me say “wow, I’m glad to be alive to see that!”. But actually getting
out and trying to help artists to make things is a tricky matter; especially
when it’s done publicly. When I see people debating about it, I feel helpless.
I have no words to say if someone claims that we have more urgent issues
than people having fun listening to music or painting pictures. And how
do you decide what’s good for people and what’s not?
That’s why it’s so refreshing and encouraging to see people just going
ahead and doing what they believe by clever ideas and practical solutions.
Last year I had such a moment when I got to know about
the Artists & Audiences Exchange program of New York Foundation for the Arts.
It’s a part of their grant program which basically give away money to selected
applicants. But they tell the selected applicants that the part of their money
will be given only if they make up a public program for the people in NY state.
OK, so when I got the money from NYFA last year, my response was, “Ah,
what? It’s not a free money? I don’t get it. They are not just giving it to me?
What???.”. Well, that was just before I realized the cleverness and significance
of the program. It’s so great to know that there are smart, capable people
looking after arts out there. Thank you NYFA.
After thinking about the program for a few months I decided to give a talk at a
local library, Hampton Library, in Bridgehampton, NY. Its building has just
gotten an extensive renovation and the director of the library has been very
positive and welcoming about the idea (my wife used to work there!). So the
talk is going to be on Saturday May 15th 3:00PM. I will be talking about my
sculpture making process with lots of images. It’ll be relaxed, informal and
hopefully fun. Please let the library know if you are interested in attending.
I will see you there if you are around!Contact information for the Hampton Library in BridgehamptonFacebook Page for the Hampton Library in Bridgehampton
Hiroyuki Hamada is a 2009 Artist Fellowship recipient of the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA). This presentation is co-sponsored by Artists & Audience Exchange, a NYFA public program.
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Working with the community college was a special event for me since I myself got
into art when I was in a community college in a small town, Wheeling, West
Virginia. Three years after my father, who worked in the steel industry in Japan,
took his family to the small town in the US, I met a community college teacher,
Karl Jacobson. As a foreign student struggling to get by the school assignments
by basically looking up all the words, Mr. Jacobson’s skill in speaking through
his drawings was just beyond magical. Until then, I had no idea that some
shapes and lines on a piece of paper could move people like music or books could.
I was like a grown man with measles: shaken up and helplessly driven away to
pursue what I saw. So having an exhibition and a talk at BCC was my way of
giving back to where I got it.
On October 2nd, my wife and I drove up to Berkshires to meet the typical
community college crowd at one of their art class rooms. They were just as they
were at my community college 20 years ago in another state 500 miles away;
they were from all kinds of backgrounds, young and old. I knew that some of them
were there against their own will (sort of), just to get the school credit. So I
wanted to make it as painless and hopefully as fun and interesting as possible.
Two most asked questions in the past talks had been “what are they made of?” and
“how did you do that?”. So I simply decided to tell them how I made the pieces:
hands on, practical sorts of information. I got 64 images of sculptures in progress
that included the very first idea sketches and finished pieces with some detail shots;
and I tried to follow the steps as I encouraged them to ask questions.
The talk went really smooth. People asked questions that totally complemented the
content of the talk. And nothing beats seeing people coming up to me totally excited
about the work as I am: letting me know that I did share something good with them.
I am pretty sure Mr. Jacobson would have approved of the talk.
Here is a picture of Karl Jacobson with one of his amazing paintings, “Musicians”.
I still feel weird to think that he is not with us anymore. He passed away early this
year. It was so sudden and totally unexpected to all.
He painted amazing pictures that changed my life completely.