Today we go Inside the Studio with Duke Hagerty, who I met through series of online coincidences. I’ve come to realize there are less than 6 degrees of separation in Charleston, it turns out we discovered mutual friends. He has an amazing retrospective show up right now at City Gallery of his surrealist works (it’s an era that’s perhaps either dying out or about to be resurrected?). Duke is having no problem in the press department, he and his work are much loved and admired in Charleston and beyond but I always love supporting artists and helping to spread the word about their work. Here’s the artist in his studio space and an interview that I feel shares another side of how the artist work. The bonus is you can still go see his work in person and get a copy of his new book American Surrealist! I’m thrilled to share this sneak peek into “Duke’s” studio and have him share more about his process and creative space in this interview. These photo’s are not styled in any way, in fact the visit was totally unplanned and spontaneous so this is typical of what his working studio looks like on an average day.
Interview and Studio Sneak Peek Part I
HKPS::What age did you suspect or know you were an artist?
RH::When I was a medical student I was introduced to Dream Analyst, Carl Jung and became interested in lucid dreams and painting my dreams ever since.
In the beginning I couldn’t remember the dreams but I’ve learned. All I need is one fragment of the dream. Once I get that down the whole picture will reveal itself. I wake up around 3 regularly and just sit (I don’t consider it meditation) and then I go back to sleep when I really have my lucid dreams (around 4-5 am). I’ve got this language and I’m going to use it. It’s no good if no one else understands it so I’m trying to communicate an idea through my paintings.
HKPS::What mediums do you work with and are there specific tools or materials you find challenging to keep organized or locate when you need to use them?
RH::Watercolor, oils, acrylics (stored by type in large flat drawers) and I paint on almost anything including Bones, Rocks, Plates and sticks. I picked up painting on bones when I traveled to Africa and didn’t have any paper.
HKPS:: Where do you make your art, how big is your studio and how long have you been in this space?
Richard “Duke” Hagerty
RH::When I had a day job I mostly painted at night in my home studio (quite a large space with great windows and very tall ceilings). Now I’m a full time painter and work in the daylight, what a treat!
HKPS::How many projects are you usually working on at once?
RH::I’m usually work on one theme but several paintings at a time.
HKPS::When you began working in this space did you plan any systems for the overall set up or did you let things evolve organically?
RH::I have a great space! Formerly the “Drawing” room-now it lives up to it’s name!
HKPS::Is making art your primary “job” or source of income?
RH::I retired from my lifelong work as a Doctor several months ago and am now able to be a full time artist. I’ve been planning for this for the past five years now. “Surgery made me a better artist and art made me a better surgeon.”
Thank you Duke for for sharing how you use your studio space and store your materials! In Part II I have more from him about his creative process and any tips and advice he has to share so check back next Thursday for Part II. In the meantime if you are in Charleston, go see the fantastic show at City Gallery up through January 10.
*The idea for the Inside the Artist Studio series began while attending an art retreat where I curiously observed the differences in the creative cycle of order and chaos and what that looks like for different individuals. I’m very interested in sharing how organizing affects the artist’s creative process. Some systems and order are vital to our creative PLAY and learning to find a balance that works to enhance your creativity is what I hope to share with you through these interviews.
Is there a particular artist whose ‘Tool kit’ you would like to see featured? Leave a comment below and let me know!