Bill Hawes


Various thoughts and biographical notes by Bill Hawes

I was born in 1930, so the Great Depression seemed to be normal life, but the death of my brother when he was six and I was five, and the bombing of Pearl Harbor when I was ten, gave me a sense that some major tragedy or disaster could happen at any tranquil moment.

Carolyn Coburn and I were married in 1951 and had a single child, Clement in 1956. I was drafted in the Army in 1953 during the Korean War and spent my service time traveling the Aleutian Islands and the coast of Alaska.

During my army basic training, I saw a Life magazine in an army day room that featured a positive story on the faculty and new art building in Arkansas. I determined to go to graduate school in Fayetteville.

After graduate school we went to a teaching job at Lamar State University in Beaumont, Texas. I won a first prize for a sculpture piece in a show judged by the curator of the Guggenheim Museum. Instead of staying and exploiting that prize, we moved back to Fayetteville and worked at more ordinary jobs for four years.

In 1967 I took a teaching job at Hendrix College. Our son majored in English at Hendrix and went to Yale for a Ph.D in English Literature. We are grateful to Hendrix for a middle-class life and a great education for our son. I taught my last class at age 56 and began working full time in my shop. Carolyn, being a practical person, kept working until age 65.

My mother was born in the horse and buggy era and died after the creation of giant supersonic airliners; this revolution in transportation happening in less than one century. Now we are in another revolution that is proceeding at a much faster pace. We often do not recognize that something is lost with each creation-something that is invisible to us.

For most of my life, I have been interested in our human awareness of mortality and the constructs that arise from this awareness. I think that interest combined with the contrast of the 1930's and 40's with the great wealth generated since the the Second World War have some part to play in my determination to make visual art. In the practical world, this makes no sense.

Most artist's statements seem to be self-serving and may be wrong as to described motivation. This may apply to the above.

I call my studio "the shop" because I think of a studio as the hangout of a guy with a pencil thin moustache in a tuxedo - smoking a down curving pipe and painting Fine Art paintings.