Artist Showcase: Robert Haggerty

The latest artist showcase comes from Robert Haggerty. If you would like to have your work featured on the site, please send an email to kdoutsiderart@yahoo.com.


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“Art is the conscious making of numinous objects.” K. J. Bishop

“As an artist, I engage the grotesque in pursuit of the numinous. Sometimes I think of myself as an archaeologist digging in the bogs of the unconscious, other times as a child convinced that the coat hanging on the door is the boogieman. To evoke the numinous, I use common detritus, discarded plastic bags and dead branches. For my pallet I use the colors of the underworld: the black of dry gangrene and tar, the brown of mud and shit, the white of bone and maggot, the grey of clay and ash. For me a work is finished only when it feels haunted.”

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When did your interest in art/creating begin?

My mother introduced me to molding clay and the possibilities of cardboard and Quaker Oats boxes before I went off to school. When I began a second career, teaching Art at an Early Childhood Center, I realized that I was now doing professional what my Mom did instinctively.

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What is your starting point for each piece?

The starting point for my work occurs in my praxis or it doesn’t occur at all. When heated, plastic bags expand, contract, congeal and curl. This malleability permits spontaneous images, especially faces, to emerge. Such images are my starting points.

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What do you hope the viewer gets from your work?

Simply put, an epiphany. While working on a piece there comes a moment when I can go no further, a moment when the work stares back in its naked wonder and I am left dumbfounded and baffled. I want the viewer to experience that moment, to stop in his or her tracks, startled.

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What do you think of the term Outsider Art?

The term covers a broad range of styles and subjects. For me, the question is, “where do I see myself on this spectrum.” When I think about Outsider Art, I see a Venn diagram with two overlapping circles, one representing Outsider Art, the other “Insider Art.” For me the overlap is the sweet spot.

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What are you working on at the moment?

I’m working on a piece for a Local Arts Council Exhibition celebrating “The Day of the Dead,” the Mexican holiday when the souls of the departed are believed to walk the earth. For obvious reasons, I seldom participate in exhibitions with defined themes. But this one is too hard to resist.

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Where do you see your work taking you in the future?

My work will evolve and change over time. At present, I’m content with what I’m doing and have no desire to go off in another direction. Hopefully, at some point I will acquire gallery representation.

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Who/what influences your work?

Alberto Giacometti, “The subject of every work of Art is primordial.”

Paleolithic Venus Figurines, awe-inspiring and less than 10 inches high.

Tribal Art. The first time I saw a Kafigeledjo Oracle, the hair on the back of my neck stood up.

Bog Mummies and other naturally occurring numinous phenomena.

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