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Rose Hendrickson, Artist of the Week

Rose Hendrickson exhibited her work as an Artist of the Week on May 22, 2020.

Gallery

Interview
Interview Transcript

Emily Longbrake

Thank you for joining us. I’m here with the lovely Rose Hendrickson and we’re going to talk about the upcoming Artist of the Week show at the Palmer Museum in downtown Palmer. To get started, could tell us about the work that will be on display at the Museum this week?

Rose Hendrickson
I have seven pieces on display down at the museum. Every one of the pieces is student work that’s been done in my BFA program of study over this past 18 months, and most of what is on display has been accomplished in this last year. It’s all three dimensional work. I have been majoring in sculpture. I’ve been an artist for over 40 years and worked in a lot of two dimensional mediums. I decided to start school back in 2016, and what I really, really wanted to pursue was three dimensional work. So I’ve been working in sculpture. So five of the pieces are ceramic, and one of them is steel. And one is a mixed media with wood and aluminum and some other things.

Emily Longbrake
So, as a formerly 2D artist, how has the 2D part come into the 3D designs that you’re making?

Rose Hendrickson
Well, they’re definitely related in many important ways. And they have some of the same elements, you know, you have your element of color, balance, composition, all of those things are just as important in three dimensions as they are in two. I think what happens when you move into three dimensions, of course, everything is exponential. So now you have to worry about composition, balance, weight and design, from every direction: from above, from below and from all sides. In a way, it’s easier because when you’re working in two dimensions, most of what you’re trying to do is give the illusion of three dimensions, and get the viewer to suspend belief, but with a three dimensional project, it’s there, you feel your way through it, you you move all around it, you look at what you’re doing, and and you have to plan in space. You have to plan your idea spatially.

Emily Longbrake
Yeah, I do 2D and 3D work as well. So I can appreciate the challenge there.

Rose Hendrickson
It’s wonderful.

Emily Longbrake
How do you choose your subjects? In school, you’re probably using prompts from the educators, but you also interpret them your own way.

Rose Hendrickson
That’s what we do in school and but I will say that I really appreciate the quality of instruction. I’m attending UAA, and the prompts that the professors give are very broad. They are specific only in suggestion. So the mixed media piece that I have on display at the Museum is my largest piece. It’s made out of aluminum, wood, paint vinyl, and the prompt for that piece was to produce an object using text. That’s it. That’s the prompt. There’s no more! There’s no “text in a graphic way,” “text in a funky way,” “text in an abstract way,” “text in a realistic way.” There’s nothing like, “Create a piece using text as an element of design.” So the prompts are usually quite vague. You’ve been through this, and I’m sure if you if you’ve done this sort of thing, they intentionally leave them open to your creative interpretation of the prompt.

Emily Longbrake
It sounds very challenging!

Rose Hendrickson
Very challenging, but it’s also incredibly stimulating and inspiring. I don’t know about you, but as an artist myself, my problem is not usually what to do it’s which to do. So generally as soon as they give us the prompt, I’m flooded with, oh, this, this, that or this, or I could do this or, hey, I wonder what this would look like. I usually don’t have too much trouble coming up with ideas, but sometimes they change. For the text piece, I had, I don’t want to say lame, but a very basic idea centering around the word Alaska, which is my home, but not using the word Alaska: using other things. Actually, this this sweatshirt I have on appealed to me the first time I saw it. {Design reads “home”, with the State of Alaska outline as the “o”.} I loved the way they used text in the art but also used our home state, as I was born here. So it’s meaningful to me. I like it a lot. I wanted to figure out something, you know, not the same. But that gave you that same inspiration. I was more thinking about toward the north. Anyway, this was our last prompt of the of the semester. And as you can imagine, it coincided with the lockdown. So by the time we received this and started working on this prompt, we had been locked down. So I’m like, okay, all I’ve been thinking about for the last week and a half is this pandemic, and the word “exponential” going over and over again in my brain, and how it took over my mind. It took over my life. It was bigger than me. So if I had had access to my classroom and to the materials that I have and the equipment that I have there, I would have made that piece very, very large. I would have made it maybe eight to 10 feet. As it is, it’s about six feet. I wanted to express how overwhelming and all consuming the pandemic is, and how school and everything is different. Every day, our world is different.

Emily Longbrake
I was curious from your previous work doing portraits and figurative work if the pandemic experience has expanded the ways that you’re thinking about those happy moments in our lives, and if you might be making work about that in the future.

Rose Hendrickson
I have a tentative drawing: it’s a figurative piece, thinking more about people. I’m still very much in love with figurative work. I have a figurative piece in this little show: it’s a small piece that’s actually a self portrait, as it’s my own hands that are sculpted in the piece. But the prompts for our our assignments often inspire my imagination in different directions that are not figurative. So most of the pieces that are down there are not figurative, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not going to do more figurative work. This is definitely my first love. I like so many things that I don’t nail myself down but figures are seductive. It’s incredibly satisfying to do figurative work. There’s something sensual about working with the human form. It’s just really seductive.

Emily Longbrake
Speaking of seductive, some of the materials you’ve used in the past, like pastels and even silt from the Matanuska River have a very textural quality. I was wondering how you have brought that into your new work.

Rose Hendrickson
When you’re working in three dimensions, you’re working in a sensual realm. I discovered clay not for the first time ever (you know, we all play with clay when we’re kids) but within the last 18 months. I changed my secondary emphasis from painting to ceramics after taking a handbuilding class, the first formal handbuilding class that I’ve ever taken. It’s totally different than your little package of clay when you’re a kid at home. When you’re working with clay, you have your hands in the mud. There is nothing more primal than grabbing a material and forming it to your will. That’s certainly not every element of handling. There’s so many other processes besides just touching it with your hands and moving. But it’s pretty primal.

Emily Longbrake
I was also thinking about the transformation that happens with ceramic work in particular and how that must be different than your previous life in two dimensions: things change a bit in the kiln, and sometimes you get happy accidents. Have you found out at all?

Rose Hendrickson
I’ve been fortunate in that pretty much the things that I put in the kiln came out the way I expected them to when they came out with maybe just a couple of very rare exceptions, so I’m not experienced enough. Working in ceramics, I’ve only been working with them here in this formal setting for about a year. So the stories I’ve heard and the things that I’ve seen other people go through though, yes, there can be some big changes . Simultaneously this semester I did a wheel throwing class. It’s a different kind of clay, different kind of firing, and different kind of glazes. What I’d gotten used to in hand building with the responses between the glazes and the under glazes is that what you see is what you get. But in wheel throwing, where they fire to a different temperature, the glazes don’t act the same way. So when I was expecting a white surface on the background or something, it didn’t come out white, it came out gray, for instance. So I did have some experiences like that. But on the whole as far as transformation of a piece between two dimensions and three dimensions, I think that there’s just as much transformation in each one. You go from a blank sheet of paper or blank canvas to having some sort of a representation whatever it is you’re trying to say, and that process is quite transformative. For the metal piece that I have on display, I started with a sheet of rusty metal. The processes that I went through to cut those shapes according to a pattern, to bend and fold those shapes using heat, and then to weld those shapes together into the piece was very transformative. There’s no comparison between the materials and the finished product at all. With clay, you start with a lump of mud in a barrel, fire it, and changes from mud to rock. And you cover it with glass.

Emily Longbrake
It’s amazing! Sounds like you’ve been trying all these new media, but I was also wondering over your many years of being a working artist, how have you been keeping art interesting year after year?

Rose Hendrickson
Wow, that’s an easy job. Art is interesting: I’m curious, I like to try things, and I am driven to improve. I have goals. I have visions, and I want to try to match the visions that I have. And those comes so fast and furious: they come so quickly, and they’re so full and there’s so many of them. I’ve probably forgotten at least as much as I’m ever going to accomplish. But I think the way I keep art interesting is just changing. The visions changed with my life. It changed with my moods, they change with my experiences, they change with my associations, with my locations.

Emily Longbrake
You’re you’ve played the viola since you were very young, and I was wondering if music is still a strong part of your artwork. Obviously it’s a strong part of who you are. But I was curious how it might be related to the work you’re presenting now or working want to make?

Rose Hendrickson
Oh, that’s an interesting question. Music is still very much a part of my life. Although I regret to say that over the last two school seasons, I have reduced my participation in the local music productions because I simply haven’t had time. My school schedule will have me working 50-60 hours a week in Anchorage, and so it conflicts with the rehearsal schedules for the formal musical associations. But I certainly still listen to music all the time while I’m working and I have my instruments and I will not be in school forever. My orchestral and community associations and music are strong. I have lots of friends in the musical community and music is very important to me. I don’t ever see it leaving my life. As far art, I don’t make any separation between music and visual art. Music is emotion. Visual art is emotion translated. Music is a conversation. Music is a painter: it paints pictures in your head. It informs and extracts your emotions and visual art does the exact same thing.

Emily Longbrake
What is next for you this summer, shall we? Will we be seeing any of your work at the State Fair again this year if all goes well?

Rose Hendrickson
The State Fair has been canceled, my dear.

Emily Longbrake
Ah! Good to know!

Rose Hendrickson
It’s interesting because it does affect the answer to your question. Another thing that I’ve done for 23 years in art related business is that I am a henna artist. So I do henna temporary tattoos, and I was the first vendor who brought that to the State Fair. All of the fairs that I do through the summer except for one now have canceled or are waiting to give a final decision on canceling. So that is my income besides artwork. Please, people, go to the museum and buy my art! I need income this summer. But I’m I’m going to have to scramble for new ways to come up with with the income that I need. I’m trying to apply for different relief programs. So far I haven’t really gotten through to anything. So a little frustration on on that side of things. But the other thing is that since I won’t be having fairs, I’ll have more time to create work. Summertime is usually a time when all I’m doing is henna, fairs and gardening, as I’m also a gardener. So I I’ve already got work lined up in my head that I want to try to get done for the summer. I also have to be getting ready for my final year as a BFA student. All the classes are very demanding, but the BFA demands that I gather my thoughts in such a way that I can concentrate on producing a specific body of work over the winter with a goal of having a show on that specific body of work. So I have to figure a lot of things out over the summer in relationship to that specific body of work. What am I going to do? Why am I going to do it? What are my goals? How am I going to approach it? How am I going to disperse the time to create these pieces across the two semesters that I’ll have in which to create them? What am I going to say about them? Writing about my art is a huge challenge for me. I’m still really stumbling along, trying to communicate myself about myself and writing with it. Artist statement: what’s that? I made it: do you like it?

Emily Longbrake
Thank you for sharing all this. I’m really excited to see your work. Last question: how can folks get in touch with you if they would like to learn more about your work and what you have for sale?

Rose Hendrickson
People can certainly get in touch with me: I have a Facebook page called Rose Hendricks Fine Art. My art is viewable on that page at any given time, and you can contact me through that page. Also at museum, all the pieces are for sale. You can contact Sam at the Museum if you’re interested in purchasing any items.

Emily Longbrake
Excellent! Thank you so much. We look forward to learning more and seeing more of your work to come.

Rose Hendrickson
Thank you for taking the time taking the time with me today, Emily.