ART & PHILOSOPHY
Piece by Piece with Artist Phil Hansen
With the boom of networking Web sites like YouTube and MySpace, Phil Hansen holds the power to expose thousands of people to his art without ever hanging anything in a gallery. “An art gallery is about getting people to see it. There are other avenues now to get people exposed to art without having to put your stuff in a gallery.” By recording himself creating his art, Hansen keeps it interesting by giving his audience a chance to not only admire the final piece, but also witness a time-lapsed version of how the piece was created.
Hansen best describes his artwork as fragment portraiture within representative portraiture. “Often there is a broken-down element, but within that element I try to do something which represents that individual in some way,” he explains.
Take for example his popular painting of Bruce Lee, titled Bruce, which was made by a series of karate-chopping motions from Hansen’s paint-dipped hands. “Everyone recognizes the Bruce Lee piece,” he adds. In a series of weekly art entitled “Goodbye Art,” Hansen sculpts an image of Jimi Hendrix made from red-, white-, and black-tipped matches. As homage to Hendrix’s infamous guitar-burning antics, the matches were then lit and set on fire.
Among other interesting pieces, Hansen is not afraid to touch on more controversial political topics, in hopes that more people will be exposed to worldwide issues. For instance, a portrait of George W. Bush made from the names of U.S. soldiers who lost their lives while serving in Iraq. Or a portrait of North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-il, painted from Phil Hansen’s own blood as a representation of bloodshed throughout Jong-il’s ruling. “When people see it, there’s not much option but to talk about it. It just stops people.”
Another notable piece of Hansen’s work, titled A Moment, consists of stories from 600 visitors who called in and shared a moment with Phil that had changed their lives. Each individual’s moment was etched into an oversized circular canvas, which ultimately revealed a self-portrait of the artist himself. “I wanted someone else to look at this piece and be like, ‘Hey, that’s exactly what I’ve experienced too. That was something that changed my life,’ ” Hansen explains.
Despite his increasing popularity, Hansen remains humble. “I still don’t call myself an artist, I say that I do art.” When asked about the reasoning behind his passion and mission of exposing art to the world, he simply states, “I think it’s something we don’t get enough of. It’s a whole other aspect of life.”
To learn more about Phil Hansen, check out: www.philinthecircle.com.