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Art & Life with Lynette Haggard

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lynette Haggard.

Lynette, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
As a child I spent lots of time making things, cutting patterns from old wallpaper, drawing, and sewing. My father, who was an entrepreneur, encouraged me to draw, invent, and to improvise. If you had to solve a problem, he said, be creative with it. Try different approaches. This way of thinking has carried over to my work today. In the studio, I am always searching for new materials and ways of making and doing things. By the time I was eight years old, I needed to find refuge from my very confusing and quickly disintegrating family unit. I escaped on a regular basis to my room where I could make things, draw and write.

In second grade I was assigned a project to give a presentation to my class about the paintings of Salvador Dali. Having no prior knowledge of his work, I found it really exciting to read about him and view the images of melting clocks and dreamy landscapes. Surrealism, as a genre, was a broad and complex concept for second grade, but I did learn that art has many forms and visions.

Outside of my home, I was fortunate to live in a neighborhood that was a rich environment for creativity and collaboration. My next-door neighbor was an oil painter who took me under her wing. I loved the smell of the oil and having my own canvas to paint on. Another creative neighbor invited me to work with him in his home workshop, and taught me to use a Dremel on slate, as a drawing tool. My brother and I designed board games; he was the strategist, I the designer. I made my first foray into the world of publishing, drawing comic strips for our neighborhood newspaper.

My most influential mentor was a neighbor named Birgit, who essentially parented me vicariously for the next 8 years. She shared her stories of world travels, interest in art, foreign language, textiles and weaving with me. She had a shelf full of art books, which she happily shared. Birgit unfailingly supported my desire to make art, pursue a college education, and to travel. By the time I hit high school I spent as much time as possible in the art classroom. I won many Globe Scholastic competitions with painting, as well as a scholarship for an advanced class at Mass College of Art.

I was highly motivated to attend art school. This drive, along with some good fortune, allowed me to attend Philadelphia College of Art, (now University of the Arts) where I studied sculpture, painting and drawing. I benefitted greatly from the relationships I had with two women painters, Cynthia Carlson and Jane Piper. They were both challenging and generous instructors. Cynthia introduced me to “Outsider Art”— art by the self-taught and naïve artists. Jane offered me her Philadelphia studio for a summer after my sophomore year, where I experienced my first solo time in a well-equipped and beautiful studio, and enjoyed many hours painting.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
For many years I painted landscape. Ultimately my focus shifted to explore the more conceptual and expansive range of abstraction. My work ranges from 2D (painting, drawing and collage/assemblage), to 3D. At the moment I am working on a body of small-scale wood sculptures. Materials always are always of interest to me. What they can do, how they participate in the conversation of what becomes the work. Other interests are form, spatial relationships, geometry, shape, color interaction, scale, and composition. I find that the everyday world and time outside the studio also has a significant influence on my practice. I am inspired by things like industrial signage, template patterns, gaskets and CAD drawings, and surfaces with a history. As I work, I often find small pieces or parts that resonate and inspire me to develop ideas for compositions. I hope that viewers are able to take away their own interpretations and perhaps enjoy some visual and thinking stimulation combined with a bit of irony or humor.

What responsibility, if any, do you think artists have to use their art to help alleviate problems faced by others? Has your art been affected by issues you’ve concerned about?
I can only address this on a personal level. What has changed for me is that my studio time and art making have become more sacred and important. The crazy state of the world, especially in our country, causes many emotions and despair. I continue to find refuge in the studio. I hope that my work allows viewers some moments of refuge as well.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
Some of my work will be in the Hallspace Drawing Project show, “Paper Chassis”. Make sure to check it out! Exhibition Dates: September 8 – October 13

I am honored to be included in the curatorial site by Julie Karabenick, where you can see more of my work:

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Images by Marie Craig and Lynette Haggard

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