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Tim Hawkinson is a contemporary artist who is famous for creating complicated sculptural artworks by using simple means and readily available materials. Hawkinson was born in San Francisco, in 1960. He graduated from San Jose University with an undergraduate degree and later obtained his master's degree in Fine arts from the University of California in 1989 (Hawkinson). The reason why I find Hawkinson's artwork fascinating is because of his ability to use the common materials that most people view as waste, and transforms them into magnificent pieces of art that attract many people. He is also one of the few modern artists who can incorporate the variety of artistic techniques and media, into a single sculpture (Hawkinson). Also, he is capable of combining natural materials with industrial products to develop a physical world where the plastic and the flesh cannot be distinguished.
One of the most famous sculpture that Hawkinson has made is named Sabastian, which was created in 2015. The artwork consists of two recycled Christmas trees, palm branches, leaves, pine cones, seed pods, coconut meat, dried potato, sunflower seeds, acorns, twine and raffia (Hawkinson). Its dimensions are 91 inches in height, 31 inches in breadth and 38 inches in depth (Hawkinson). A Christian martyr Saint Sabastian inspired the sculptor. According to legends and Renaissance painters who made his paintings, Saint Sabastian was persecuted by the Roman emperor Diocletian. However, in this sculpture, Hawkinson creates his version of the story by excluding the body of the martyr and thus opening up other possible meaning behind this artwork. From a religious standpoint, I would interpret the work as an attempt to tell the story of Saint Sabastian by using humour instead of grief. By failing to use the body of the martyr which based on historical context would have been ridden with arrows, he creates a lighter environment where people can understand the story without feeling sad.
On the other hand, I would interpret the sculpture from an environmental perspective where Hawkinson is trying to pass a message about the preservation of the environment. Hawkinson chooses two recycled Christmas trees, and palm branches, leaves, pine and other organic products to depict to the audience the damage caused by the humans to the environment in the day to day life . To most people, Christmas is a time of celebration, and people decorate their homes using Christmas trees (Rezvani 35). However, cutting down of trees to have fun damages the environment and creates an ecological balance that endangers the life of other living organisms on earth. The arrows depict the harmful effect that our environment is subjected to as a result of human activity. On the other hand, by using recycled materials, Hawkinson is trying to urge his audience to take the necessary steps that would reduce the harmful effect on the environment. Such measures should include recycling waste materials instead of disposing of them when they could be of much use to humans.
In conclusion, the sculpture "Sabastian," by Tim Hawkinson is a fantastic artwork that tells the audience more than one story. The sculpture is unique as it uses organic materials to produce an extraordinary object that is both intelligent and amusing to watch. I think by the sculptor deliberate exclusion of Saint Sabastian's body, he wants to engage his audience in a more thought-provoking debate of the effects of human activities on the environment.
Hawkinson, Tim. "Tim Hawkinson - Sebastian, Sculpture For Sale at 1stdibs." 1stdibs: Antique and Modern Furniture, Jewelry, Fashion & Art, 2015, www.1stdibs.com/art/sculptures/figurative-sculptures/tim-hawkinson-sebastian/id-a_902503/. Accessed 18 Apr. 2019.
Rezvani, L. B. "Saint Sebastian and the Mule-driver's Wife: Marguerite de Navarre's Renaissance Martyr." L'Esprit Createur, vol. 57, no. 3, 2017, pp. 46-57, doi:10.1353/esp.2017.0028.
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