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Creative Careers : Angela Hook Interview

Creative Careers in the Arts Interviews

Wire Artist and Equestrienne Angela Hook

By Molly Anderson-Childers

Angela HookPull up a chair and pour a cup of tea… this month, I'm interviewing wire artist, art director, graphic designer and equestrienne Angela Hook. This amazing woman has always shared her life with horses. She was educated at the Alberta College of Art, and there began to blend two passions — for horses and visual art — with her first sculpture. Now a successful artist in her own right, she's taken some time to reflect on her career for our readers. It's been an exciting journey, and she's here today to tell us all about it! Angela, thanks for joining us!

Q: What was your first job as a young woman?

A: My friends and I would take groups of tourists for trail rides at a local riding stable when we were young. The pay wasn't great, but we were able to ride their horses for free!

Q: What inspired you to start working in this fascinating medium? Are you also interested in other types of creative expression?

A: I began experimenting with different media in college. That's one of the fantastic things about a traditional art education — I intended to be a graphic designer and work in the digital realm, but being surrounded by so many tempting choices at the Alberta College of Art was often distracting (and fun!).

In my first year, I created a life-size foal from chicken wire, cheesecloth, flour and water. It was so much fun, and the way it took form in my hands simply from childhood memories flowing into the wire really stuck with me.

Years after I graduated, I found myself twisting and turning a piece of wire that was just lying around. Since anything I ever did was always a horse… so too was the fate of this piece of wire! That was my first equine wire sculpture.

Q: How did you make the leap from day job to 'Dream Job'? Any advice for young artists wanting to break into this field?

A: It was a tough decision to leave my full-time job, because it was actually a great job! I included this quote on my resignation letter, in hopes that my boss would understand my choice:

"Live a balanced life — learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some." — Robert Fulghum

I had started building up my art business, and selling my work on a part-time basis while still at the day job. I would definitely recommend this route, rather than just jumping ship and hoping you will be an instant success as an artist.

Maintaining a few design clients on a freelance basis now allows me to 'work some' so that I can 'play some' with my wire sculpture, painting, writing, and other fun stuff!

Let the Wire Inspire: Release Your Creative Energy by Angela HookQ: Please tell us a little more about the fantastical, magical creatures you've lately been inspired to create.

A: Well, I recently received a commission to create a winged unicorn. This seemed reasonable, since it was really just a horse with accessories! I had a lot of fun creating that piece. Around the same time, I watched the movie 'Eragon', which tells a tale of dragons and their riders. From this, I was inspired to create a wire dragon. The basic form was unfamiliar to me, so it challenged both my skill and imagination. I would like to experiment further with creating fantasy creatures… maybe a centaur or a griffin?

Q: Can you give our readers the low-down on your recent trip to the Big Apple? It sounds like you had a fabulous time, and found a few wire artists there to make you feel more at home.

A: New York was amazing! I was so delighted to find a street vendor on our very first night in Times Square selling wire sculpture. And, of course, the Museum of Modern Art was so inspiring. It was like walking through the real-life version of my college textbooks… Picasso, Monet, Van Gogh…oh my! The highlight was discovering an Alexander Calder mobile in a stairwell. It was much bigger in person than I had imagined. Yes, the big city was exciting, but it also made me appreciate my sleepy little hometown.

Q: What inspires you and keeps your creative juices flowing?

A: Hmmm… sharing. Sharing thoughts and ideas with friends/family (and strangers!) always gets me excited about a project or creative direction.

Q: How do you deal with creative blocks? Could you share some strategies to help readers who might be feeling stuck in the muck?

A: Personally, I need to get out of the studio. Whether it's getting out into the yard, riding, driving, or even shopping. Just walking away for a bit clicks my brain into a different mode and I'm able to start fresh thoughts.

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