What I really love about social media is the feeling of connection with a global community. For me, as for travel/art blogger, social media brings the opportunity to find a real ‘gold’ among my followers.
Interview with an Artist
If you are Travel.Art.Stories reader, you already know that this blog communicates with its readers through the ‘Stories’ section, where art or travel lovers can share their stories and tell about their artworks.
I found my first Storyteller, an incredible artist from Barcelona, Hasu Art, thanks to Travel.Art.Stories Instagram account, Daniel Benisty, my second Storyteller, I found in London on a stage though, but now Instagram again helped me to find another ‘Art Storyteller’, a person who ‘pushes the boundaries of the public experience’, an artist and landscape architect from the US – Blessing Hancock.
For me, it was very interesting to talk to Blessing, as her art is not something traditional or what you can easily see any art fairs in your city. This artist pushes art forward, and literally breaks the boundaries and changes the spirit of the places. Her work is to make light art installations and site-specific sculpture … I wish she lived in my city!
Blessing Hancock owns Skyrim Studio Inc, which focuses on site-specific sculpture. She utilizes her BFA in Sculpture and MLA in Landscape Architecture to create innovative work for public spaces. She has completed monumental sculpture projects throughout the world and has extensive experience working with city agencies, project teams, and community groups.
Through the inclusion of interactive opportunities to engage and participate with the artwork through touch, sound, and movement, Blessing’s concepts push the boundaries of the public experience. Light is a connective thread that runs through her work, and she believes in light’s ability to enliven a space.
Blessing holds a wide body of experience managing complex projects involving multiple stakeholders; coordinating with city agencies, architects, engineers, and consultants to elevate the position of public art. Community engagement is an essential component of Blessing’s work, and she has extensive experience working with community groups.
First, I would like to start with my favourite question. Remember the day or time when you decided to become an artist? What inspired you?
It was a visit to the Dia Beacon, a remarkable contemporary art collect in Hudson Valley NY, on the banks of the Hudson River. I took the train up from Manhattan and spent the day exploring their amazing collection of art from the 1960s to the present. This was my first experience with a Richard Serra sculpture and I realized then that I wanted to create art that was big enough to enter and be surrounded by.
Who inspired you and why?
My early inspirations came from the Land Art movement of the 1960’s/70’s and artists such as Andy Goldsworthy, Robert Smithson, James Turrell and Nancy Holt. I have a great interest in the natural environment and it has been a major inspiration for my work throughout the years. I remember reading quote by James Turrell about art being a place you go to empty out, and this struck me as a life path. Creating my own places to go to empty out.
Why did you choose site specific sculpture art?
It wasn’t really a choice as much as the only thing that made sense to me. I’ve always believed in the concept of genius loci, that every place has a unique and individual spirit. This is what drew me to study and practice landscape architecture before moving into sculpture full time about 10 years ago. Each artwork is attempting to reveal an innate sense of place and bring out the inherent voice of each location.
I think what you do is more related to modern art. You know some people say that modern art is not actually art, and make no sense in comparison with Leo Da Vinci, for example. What do you think about modern art haters? And what is your attitude towards modern art?
I don’t have any attention for haters, I realize they exist in all aspects of life but I am too fully consumed in my process to give it any attention. For me art is a way forward for culture and society, it’s a big enough concept to include all labels. There is no right or wrong way to approach it because each person is an individual, each artist is just speaking from their own experience.
Small Talk About the Weather, architectural model. A later version of this artwork was installed in a parking garage in downtown Oklahoma City 🌟 I imagine Oklahomans making small talk about the weather around the water cooler at the office 😀 Follow @blessinghancock for more of my public artwork. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #blessinghancock #landscapearchitecture #publicart #artconsultant #urbanart #contemporaryartcurator #designthinking #lightblue #ig_artgallery #stargazing #lightanddark #lightandshadow #architecturelover #designattack #geometricart #designboom #materials #architecturaldetails #led #archdaily #architecturalmodel #scalemodel #interactiveart #contemporarysculpture #architecturelovers #blogger #urbanartist #lightingdesign #lightitup #installation
Do you remember first time you showed your work to public. Where it was and what was the reaction of the audience?
Yes, and it was terrifying. For my first show, I hosted an art party in my parent’s backyard when I was in art school. Back then I had no way to separate myself from the work so presenting it in a public forum made me extremely uncomfortable. It was a completely safe critique environment and loved by everyone, family and friends, but I was a total wreck and could have thrown up at any moment. I’ve come a long way since, and being able to create art for the public realm requires an incredible level of detachment.
You are from USA. What do you think about art in US today? Is it decline or progress in art stage?
I work in a very specific niche in the US art world, Public Art is a stable market. I have a successful track record working with large public agencies, including the Utah Transit Authority, the City of Portland, the City of Dallas, the City of San Antonio, the City of Tucson, the City of Shreveport, the City of Palo Alto, and several State Universities.
Tell me few words about your studio Skyrim Studio.
My company Skyrim Studio focuses on public art and we have considerable experience working with design teams and community groups. I keep my studio very small, working with subcontractors throughout the world to engineer, fabricate and install the artwork. This allows me to keep my personal focus on the artwork concepts, community engagement and project oversight.
Prototype phase 🌟 Working out the kinks. Measure twice, cut once 👌 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ On Display in the making, now installed along S. Broadway in Denver, CO #blessinghancock⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #art #urbanart #sculpture #modern #artsy #architecturelove #architecturegram #designattack #designmilk #contemporarysculpture #contemporaryartist #architectureilike #architecturedaily #geometricart #materials #lightitup #LED #lightedlight #prototype #denverart #metallic #architecturaldetails #architecturelover #interectiveart #fabrication #metalfabrication #metalworks #metalwork #metalart
From your profile I see that you present your work in different countries. Please sign some of them and how these countries welcome you. What is the difference between these countries and where you prefer working?
My primary market is in the US, but I have installed artwork in Canada, Norway and China. These projects been both thrilling and challenging, and they are all very well received. The condition for each project, in the US or internationally, is always very different. I have installed more than thirty artworks worldwide and each one has had a steep learning curve.
The color changing magic of Biota 🙌 Installed at Peoria Station, Metro Rail Line, Aurora, CO. Follow artist @blessinghancock on Instagram for more looks. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Made from painted steel, acrylic, LED lighting, 23’ x 5’ dia, Commissioned by the City of Aurora, CO ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #blessinghancock #landscapearchitecture #publicart #artconsultant #urbanart #contemporaryartcurator #designthinking #contemporarysculpture #architecturelovers #urbandesign #commission #contemporaryartist #modern #artsy #artblogger #stargazer #lightedlight #colorpop #artconsulting #artconsultant #architecturelover #outdoorart #interactiveart #installation #lightanddark #archdaily #ig_artgallery #sculpture #led #design
What is your dream place for exhibiting?
Any public location with a diverse community. I enjoy that the work is experienced by all ages, ethnicities and backgrounds. I am inspired to create artwork with an emphasis on innovation and new experience. I view each sculpture as an opportunity to improve the public’s experience of a place and transform a site and I welcome the opportunity for community engagement, finding that it enhances both the process and end product.
Can you call a modern cultural capital? The place where art is more welcome.
In my Public Art niche there is no cultural capital, I have installed artwork for small towns and large cities. My measure of success is that it becomes popular with the local population, those who experience it on a day-to-day basis. I’m not as concerned with the larger audience as much as I am with those that live with the artwork.
What can you advice young artists? What is the best way to promote your art and how to start art career?
You probably know if you are interested in art from a very young age. If you are going to be a successful artist, it will likely feel like an obsession, something you can’t stop yourself from doing. I work on art everyday without pause, whether I’m inspired that day or not. I have very structured creative habits that result in artistic proficiency and productivity.
Please suggest some great places to visit in the US?
The US is a big country with a lot of variety. I’m happy to share specific locations of the artworks I have installed throughout the US and abroad for art centers, public parks, universities, libraries, hospitals, transit stations, parking garages, underpasses, and more. Please get in touch if you are interested in visiting any of them and if you do I’d love to see pictures!
Share your pictures if you’ve been to these magic places and saw Blessing’s artworks! Subscribe and stay tuned, as more art/travel stories are coming soon!
For more information, and collaboration opportunities check Blessing’s website blessinghancock.com