Friday, July 26, 2013

Why Handmade: Special Family Edition: Interview with Kerry Hawkins of K. Hawkins Photography

by Lynn Mohney of Prunella's Workshop

Our families and our upbringing can have great impact on who we are as artists as well as the future artists we may create and inspire. Every once in a while I plan to interview an artist regarding art in their family, both current and growing up, to shed light on the different places artists come from.

Recently I had the pleasure of cyber interviewing Kerry Hawkins of Kerry Hawkins Photography, one of our very own Boston Handmade members.  If you have had the pleasure of meeting Kerry, you know that she can always be seen with her camera and a warm smile on her face. In addition to being a part of Boston Handmade, a very talented graphic designer and photographer, Kerry is also the co-founder of the Dedham Square Artist Guild.

Pat Hawkins, presenting her daughter Kerry's work at Cristina Hurley Gallery; Photo by Kerry Hawkins

1. Would you describe your family to be creative/handmade/artistic? 

I think I would, my mom loves to paint glassware and make her own greeting cards; my dad was a carpenter and still dabbles in making things. My mom loves going to art museums, music, and performances like the ballet. My dad has always been into history.

2. Was there a particular family member who inspired you to pursue your craft based upon their craft? Was it the same craft? If there was more than one family member, feel free to elaborate 

My parents have always been supportive of my art career and encouraged me to go to art school. My parents bought my first camera when I was in grade school. My husband has been supportive as well. He is not an artist, but loves the arts and has supported my photography and artistic endeavors.

3. Was there someone outside your family who introduced you to crafting? If so, how? 

When I was attending the Art Institute of Boston, I took a photography class. The teacher of the class encouraged me to keep going with my photography. I have ramped up my photography since college. I had a dark room for years and eventually switched to digital photography.

Earlier work taken during the darkroom days; Photo by Kerry Hawkins

5. If your craft is the same or similar to the craft of a family member/outside influence, how do you feel their influence has affected your work? 

I have many creative friends and friends who support the arts. I think when you share ideas and experiences it is bound to influence your work. I feel lucky to have so many photographer and creative people as friends. We share ideas, information, technique, go on photo walks and talk about favorite photographers. It is funny; my family and friends are used to me always having my camera; they find things for me to photograph such as a beautiful flower or a quirky store window. It is a fun way to connect!

6. If your craft is different from that of a family member/outside influence, how did their craft influence what you do now? Or did it have no impact at all? 

I think being part of Boston Handmade and cofounder of the Dedham Square Artist Guild has really influenced how I think about my art, what I photograph, and how to present it to the world. There is a certain camaraderie knowing so many people trying to do their craft, balancing family life, and getting their work out into shows and galleries. 

These questions relate to the present:

1. Do you feel it is our responsibility as artists to pass along our skills and knowledge to future generations? If so, how? 

I do feel it is important to help young artists to think that they can show their work in galleries. Over the years, an artist gathers information about their craft, social media and marketing of their art. I think it is great to share that knowledge.

2. How do you pass along the love of what you do to other people? 
I think by just talking about my work and their work. Getting excited at the perfect shot or just going on a photo walk with fellow artists.

Recent work; Photo by Kerry Hawkins

3. Do you feel it is more important to pass along your specific skill set? Or a respect for craft/art in general? How can either be achieved?
You should respect a artist’s craft or art. It is years of expertise, creativity and knowledge an artist is sharing with you and the world around them through their art. It may look easy to you but, it has been years of practice and honing their skill. When you share your knowledge about your craft it is educating the viewer.

I have talked with many artists about their audience not always getting how much work that goes into their art or craft. I try to keep an open mind when talking about another's work and recognize the skill it took to achieve a work of art.

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