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An Interview With Scott Hove

June 1, 2010

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The Ballast caught up with Scott Hove, a self taught artist based in Oakland California, and asks him about his wild cakes and rope sculptures that would make any sweet tooth art lover crave for more! We are very excited to share the thoughts and work of Mr. Scott Hove.

B: Rope installations, Cake rooms, and paintings; how did this all start for you?
Did you find art early on in life?

SH: I first discovered my feeling for creativity when I was about ten or eleven years old. I had a babysitter who sat down and rendered some really interesting faces. Something in me changed when I saw him do this, and I was filled with what I can best describe as thrill combined with obsession. This feeling has been with me ever since that early time, and keeps me highly driven to experiment with new media and unconventional presentations. It is the thrill of the new, of the possibilities, that make me feel vital as an artist.

B: your work is quite spacial and can be large scale covering full rooms. Did you start with work like this, or was it a transition into wanting to encompass large spaces that surround the viewer?

SH: It was during my brief time in art school in about 1989 that I became aware of the power of large scale works, and the atmosphere they produce. I wanted to test the limits of what was possible in any given space, with whatever readily available media was around. It started with painting, then late-night non-commissioned murals around San Francisco, and eventually evolved into three-dimensional works. At the same time, however, I have always been working on small and delicate works of art that feel very personal and intimate. It has always been a goal to preserve that feeling of intimacy even in my largest works. It is easy to work large, but even easier to loose people’s interest if you aren’t empathetic to what people respond to when working on that scale.

B: With your Cakeland work, why did you choose animal characteristics for your cakes and not mechanical or man made defense mechanisms?

SH: Mechanical constructs have been a recurrent theme for me for a very long time. Machines vs. Nature is a theme that I can’t get away from, and one that really upsets me. My paintings often use this theme, and the result for the viewer is a little bit like shock-and-awe. It takes a lot from the viewer. When I started doing the cakes, the viewer’s experience was totally different- it was indulgent. It was a nice change to indulge rather than to take. The animal elements in the cake possess the fierceness and potential for aggression that machines have, but they also have a profound sensuality that merges perfectly with the attractiveness of the cakes.


B: You make a wide variety of work in very different styles, Do you feel that having a new approach to each medium helps you in creating different bodies of work?

SH: The approach to the variety of media remains the same for me in most cases. I find something with potential, and obsessively manipulate it until I achieve a sense of finality, and then step back to observe the story that is taking place. It is usually the medium itself that shapes the focus of the various bodies of work. It can also be very helpful to switch media when you start to go blind in a particular place. If you are feeling blocked, there are other fresh paths to be walked on. I think many artists tend to become overly invested with their medium and process of choice. They tend to identify to closely to it, and end up being enslaved by it and all of the expectations that go along with it. To do a successful work of art you have to stay free. Free of expectation, other people, and especially free of your own persona.

B: Does your work convey your personal views of human interaction?

SH: As it relates to the Cakeland series, the sculptures are mini-portraits of our interactive lives. We get up each day with the goal of achieving something that will contribute to our well being and happiness. During the day we have interactions that help us along, or that scare the shit out of us. The cake sculptures contain these realities. In the other bodies of my work, interaction and even integration with the piece becomes necessary to see what the piece is all about. Works of art that affect me the most profoundly are ones that you have to immerse yourself into.

B: Your rope work reminds us of Lobster traps, or traps in general, and your cake work also has it’s defensive qualities, can you talk about if this is an intentional pattern?

SH: The rope installations have a lot of funnel shapes and spaces that can feel constricted. I don’t know if this is more of an intention on my part or what the rope does on its own when you tighten it. The rope installations require increasing amounts of tension to hold their shape during installation. What starts out as open winds up bound down like a corset… and occasionally people have to remember how to get out of them! All of my work places demands on the viewer, and involves a certain amount of commitment to experience. This may seem like an overbearing attitude, but I’d like to think it ends up being worth it to the viewer/participant in the end.

B: What are you working towards with your new work. Are you looking to take on a new medium or subject matter?

SH: Right now I am still testing the boundaries of fake cake as an engageable medium. I want to do cakes that resemble the Japanese decorated trucks, or /Dekotora/. I am also working on some large hanging bone sculptures, which is another whole body of work that few people have seen. I am also always on the lookout for suitable spaces for my rope installations… let me know if you know of one!

B: Thank you so much for your time! We are very much looking forward to seeing some new work. Any last words?

SH: Thanks for the interview. My final thought for anyone who may run into one of my pieces is to not listen to what I am saying here. Trust your own response, draw your own conclusions. That is what is most important.

You can see more of Scott’s Work at his website.

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