15 questions with Blessing Hancock

By April 4, 2019 April 15th, 2019 All Things Artisphere

Blessing Hancock is the designer and creator of the sculpture that has been dedicated to West Greenville  for the 15th annual Artisphere presented by TD Bank !

In honor of our 15th anniversary, we asked Blessing 15 questions about art and Artisphere.

Q: What message do you aim to get across through your work?

A: I aim to expand the definition of art and help connect it to a greater audience. For me art offers a way forward for a culture and a society, there is no right or wrong way to approach it because each person is an individual, and each artist speaks from their own experience.

Q: Who/what has been the biggest influence on your work?

A: My early inspirations came from the Land Art movement of the 1960’s/early 70’s and artists such as Andy Goldsworthy, Robert Smithson, James Turrell and Nancy Holt. Even though I wasn’t alive during this period, 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 a quote by James Turrell about art being ‘a place you go to empty out’, and this has stuck with me.

Q: What part of the creative process is most exciting to you?

A: I think of the creative process as a problem solving exercise, I’m tasked with creating an artwork that speaks of it’s surroundings. The most exciting part for me is when I feel a concept starts to relay this message.

Q: What has been your favorite experience working with Artisphere so far?

A: It’s has been a great pleasure working with Artisphere and the City of Greenville, my favorite part has been engaging the local community, especially during Artisphere 2018.

Q: What is a day in the studio like for you?

A: I keep my studio very small and quiet, with no employees. I think of it as a retreat and this allows me to work from home and keep my personal focus on the artwork designs and community engagement. I typically juggle about ten projects at one time, these are located throughout the world and appox 50% of my time is spent traveling. Engineering and fabrication gets done through phone and email communication with my subcontractors.

Q: What is the biggest change that you’ve noticed in your work since you began?

A: My early education in arts produced small-scale works, done in more traditional materials (bronze, clay, wood) through an additive, built-up process. Since starting in Public Art my sculptures have grown large and I primarily work with sheet goods (stainless steel, polycarbonate). My art changed dramatically when I began designing on the computer and working with structural engineers because gravity and scale were no longer limiting factors.

Q: What drew you to light as a medium as opposed to any other medium?

A: Light is a connective thread that runs through my work, and I believe in light’s ability to enhance and enliven a space. Light makes me happy and I also see how it affects others.

Q: How would you describe your work in 5 words?

A: Contemporary, interactive, large-scale, illuminated, sculptures

Q: What is your background in art and how has it affected your work?

A: I have a BFA in Sculpture and an MLA in Landscape Architecture. These two degrees are invaluable to me, the perfect combination of creative and practical that I need in the Public Art field. I have been working as a full time public artist since 2008.

Q: How long did it take for you to develop your own personal art style?

A: My entire life…and then some, there isn’t an answer that would suffice here because everything I have experienced up to this point has defined my style, and it will continue to change based on everything I experience after this point.

Q: What advice would you give to aspiring artists?

A: 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 exception.

Q: What do you love most about being an artist?

A: I appreciate the unconventional nature of being an artist. There aren’t really any rules about how you are supposed to be or act.

Q: What’s the most challenging part about being an artist?

A: Sometimes it can take over everything, to the point that I lose all perspective of the day-to-day. Wake…art…sleep…repeat, my goal is to find a balance with it.

Q: If you weren’t an artist, what would you be doing?

A: Puzzles

Q: What importance do the arts have in education?

A: The arts are an invaluable component to any educational curriculum. Learning how to think abstractly and from multiple perspectives is a key attribute that any successful adult possesses.