Hank Waddell, Texas Sculpture Group
From Liberty Hill, Texas
I have used dead tree limbs, pieces of a disassembled piano, various metals, gas pump nozzles, fine lumber, exotic automotive paint and dead trees. My work combines the skill of a craftsman with the expression of an artist. The playfulness and ephemeral qualities of my sculptures often shroud the meticulous hours of labor and contemplation that are a part the artistic process. I often focus on the fleeting and changing nature of art and society. Sometime I use processes that are not completely controlled and will have inexact results, regardless of how much control I have over the creation process. The results of this process are ultimately a cynical critique of humankind’s ability to control his or her place in the world. But I inject humor to shade this cynicism by building with unusual materials, painting with vibrant colors, and using irony in naming my finished pieces
I was born in 1951 in Houston, when it was a small city. As a child, I spent all my free time in the neighboring woodlands and pastures — playing exploring, and building. Here, I developed a life-long passion for nature and for crafting objects out of wood. My closest relationship to art was watching my grandfather paint or develop photographs.
But my father would not allow me to take art or vocational classes when those classes became electives. “Math and Science that is your future”, he would say. Though I sometimes regret not completing my engineering degree. What I have learned helped me in my future business, first spending a couple of years at a custom furniture studio. Then starting a family, I was going to need a little more. So, I started a construction company, starting as a remodeling contractor and then become specialist in interior millwork (LeGrande Company, since 1974). A year after starting that business, I would meet sculptor Thom Wheeler. We would share a space with him and assist him in assembly and installations for 6 years while doing construction work and building a few pieces of sculpture.
Then in 1981 I moved to Austin, totally focusing on construction and the current need and future need of my family. My wife as my father before her, “you need to get back to engineering”.
In 1998, I got divorced. Became a single parent, played the field and made 15 pieces. Then I fell in love with an artist / musician who, looked at the six pieces I had made the and though I had something cool to say. She talked me into joining an art group, AVAA, which at the time included many of the facility at UT, ACC, and St. Eds. We had huge show with near 80 works. I entered with “World Bar” for my first show won public’s choice. The next year “Amazonians” won critic’s choice and sold to a lawyer in Toronto. My third show “Rachmaninov’s Pet” won critic’s & public’s choice. You could barley get my head out the door.
But I did not become a full-time sculptor until 2001, I was 50. And after 25 years of mimicking sculptors, I was drawn toward. I spent a year making 100’s of cubes from the rarest wood in the world. Each of the cube, stroked 6 times with grit 80 to 600. The oiled 6 times and waxed 6 times. I took off for Marfa, wondering why…3 weeks later I came back and have completed over 300 pieces of sculpture, 18 solo exhibits, 61 group exhibits.