A Seattle native, Stephen Hansen moved to New Mexico in 1984, and has been working as a professional artist since 1968. In addition to paper mache, he works in resin, hydrocal, wood, bronze, steel and stone. Hansen has had one-man shows in commercial galleries and art museums in Detroit, Chicago, Santa Fe, Washington, Philadelphia, and New York.
His meticulous paper mache creations are known all over the world and are included in museum, corporate, private, and government collections including the New Mexico Capitol Art Collection in Santa Fe, the, The Federal Reserve and Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., and United States Embassies in Naples, Italy and Caracas, Venezuela
As an artist I am not an explorer of the human condition, so much as a hapless tourist, making snapshots of whatever strikes my fancy. I work primarily in paper mache, the appeal of which is twofold. First, it is fast enough that I can try out ideas without any sense of commitment. Secondly, it is a material so inherently humble that I can claim to make "cultural icons" or "distilled social observations" without feeling too pretentious. Stylistically, I think of my work as lifelike rather than realistic, a choice made out of a desire to represent ideas rather than individuals. I make sculpture with the idea that it should both attract and communicate. Towards that end, I try to make art that is intellectually accessible and aesthetically seductive. I approach my work day as though I were the director of a small reparatory company, with a group of actors that I costume and coerce into the characters of the story I want to tell. They tend toward over acting.
Artist Statement ll
You should never trust an artist who makes a statement, except under duress.
STEPHEN HANSEN’S GREAT MOMENTS IN ART
After taking a year off to make metal things to avoid painting, it seemed like it would be easier to learn to paint. This seemed like a good way to do that.
This project started with a "Rothko", and the notion that one's life work might have been accomplished one brilliant weekend with a roller.
What if art work really was, well...work? And paintings were done by painters?
It had never occurred to me, until I became involved in this project, to pretend to be someone else for a few days. It is a bit like a holiday, though I would recommend Gauguin over van Gogh.
Born: 1950, Seattle, WA
Sculpture: Archival paper mache, resin, hydrocal, bronze, steel
Graphics: Watercolor, etching, engraving
2009 Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, NM
Water Street Gallery, Douglas, MI: 92, 95, 97, 99, 01, 02, 05, 06, 07, 09, 11, 2013 - 2019 annually