Studio Visit

Late Summer 2016

For the summer issue's studio visit, Habby Osk invited four artists to illustrate and share what initially sparked their interest in being an artist. These are their responses.


Zoe Chan

Zoe Chan, Control System 1, Neon Proptotype, 2015 &  her mom in wedding dress

I remember going to the National Art Gallery with my Mom as a child, and seeing her reverence for the work.  We saw Leonardo DaVinci's anatomy drawings, Picasso's weeping woman, Rodin's portrait of Balzac.  There were many visits throughout my childhood and during each I would be filled with inspiration, excitement and awe.  

I don't recall a specific moment of realization, but I know I wanted to be an artist from the earliest time.  I'm sure these visits were their origin.  Even from my earliest memories of being asked what I wanted to be, that was the answer.  

The photo is a shot of my mother in her wedding dress, taken twenty years after the day.  It was taken around 1989.  I was thinking about all of the great black & white female photographers of the 20th century, Diane Arbus, Mary Ellen Mark, Lisette Modei.  

The current work shown is a sculpture of a neon security camera.  I've been thinking about contemporary obsessions of security, surveillance, and paranoia.

Reade Bryan

Reade Bryan, Drain #2, Plywood, canvas, poured concoction, drain, 2015 & aerial shot of Houston, TX

I grew up in the suburbs of Houston, TX before it became a mega suburban sprawl. It was a great place to be a kid.  I had no curfew and there were expansive fields and wooded areas that my friends and I explored.  We would smoke cigarettes and vomit, look at Playboy magazines, and build forts.  Building was remarkably blissfull for me.  Getting my hands on materials, imagining, planning, and arguing over the desired outcome was an incredibly stimulating process.  At the time the concept of art had not been introduced to me or very minimally.  Later down the road as a teen I encountered a retrospective of Robert Rauschenberg at the CAMH.  The work fascinated me and the tactile experiences I had as a young person were now translating to the physical elements of sculpture, or as Rauschenberg called them, combines. 

Barb Smith

Memory of a tiptoe, an excavation,  expansion cement, stolen doorstop, reproduction glass, graphite crucible, paraffin wax, accidental steps, shared machine part, tree pruning sealer, memory of an unfair necessary, corning wax bite, Maple, tack cloths, the positive of language, packing foam, binder clips, unfired porcelain, handmade lead tubing, a paperweight, granite dust from a monument making shop in Queens, fine bone china rims, when all the color goes away, rubber cast of how to move in 1939, lined paper tray, gift wrap tape, an earring back, dinner plate fragment, silver approximating thread, compressed pewter, the insides of jingle bells, unfired porcelain with dye transfer, Plexiglas, a small city on quick wood, fragment of a glass crucible from Kokomo, IN, fragment of a glass kiln from Kokomo, IN, sinking pewter, Friendly Plastic, Quick Copper, all about timing, bb’s, muslin, half a bouncy ball, a pin back standing in for “seeing the future,” Memory Foam, Aqua Resin, marble dust, red cleaning camouflage, chunk glass, potluck stone, Birch plywood, brads, Super Paint, traction tape, my middle gray, 2016

To hold a tooth, cut 2-5 by 5 inch squares of gingham with pinking shears. (Give the pink gingham to the girls and the blue gingham to the boys.) To make a pocket, cut 2 by 2 inch squares and center one on a larger piece of the 5 by 5 inch gingham. Hand out pink plastic needles and pink and blue thread. (Give the pink thread to the girls and the blue thread to the boys.) Thread the needle and make a square knot at the other end. To begin, make the first puncture from underneath and pull the thread up until the knot rests against the fabric. Attach the 2 by 2 inch piece of gingham to 1-5 by 5 inch piece of gingham by repeating this gesture.  Puncture to attach. Work from the top left corner to the top right corner. Sew as evenly and as straight as possible. When finished, tie a knot and cut away the extra thread.  Lay the larger squares down so that the edges line up. Thread the needle and make a knot at the other end. To begin, make the first puncture from underneath both pieces of the 5 by 5 inch gingham and pull the thread up until the knot rests against the fabric. Attach the 2 - 5 by 5 inch pieces of gingham by repeating this gesture.  Puncture to attach. Work from the top left corner to the top right corner. Sew as evenly and as straight as possible. Stop at the top right corner and lay the needle aside. Do not cut the thread. Hand out stuffing. (Give the same amount of stuffing to the girls and to the boys.) Fill the space inside until it has body. Pinch the top closed. Sew across the top as evenly as possible. Puncture to attach. Stop at the top left corner. To end, tie a knot and cut away the extra thread. 


 Every tooth I lost passed through my handmade Tooth Fairy Pillow, now an often-revisited memory of constructing an object that had the power of transmutation. A temporary container for a growing body sloughing its youth, an act of exchange between a child and an adult, the power of belief, the vulnerability of dreams, and the wonderment of morning.

 Barb Smith

Habby Osk

Habby Osk, "Sustain," Glass, magnets, 2014 & Grandparent's house

Building up and arranging, breaking down and rearranging.  My grandparents’ home was of an endless fascination to me while I was growing up and still is today.  Living only two blocks away from them, I would spend days on end at their house.  It was full of artworks and design objects, some of them were my grandfather’s, my great grandfather’s and then an eclectic mix, but that was not what fascinated me the most.

 Their house was under constant revision one might say.  My grandfather designed and built the house in the ‘60’s.  Over the years my grandmother would come up with all kinds of ideas which entailed breaking down walls and building them up again.  Making a room bigger or smaller, combine two into one and then turn it back into two rooms again.  Their living room was constantly being rearranged as well and each time it looked like a different space.

 It was the act of making and rearranging that sparked my interest.

Katie Hovencamp

Katie Hovencamp, Pouring Iron at New Mexico Highlands University, 2009 & "Reverie," mixed media

As long as I could remember I was into the process of making. My mom taught me how to hold a pencil and draw on paper when I was about 3 years old. After I discovered drawing, I was addicted. My mom and my aunt who was a teacher would supply me with stacks of copy paper, pencils, and paints that would constantly need to be replenished. I drew everyday for many years. It was something that I enjoyed because it gave me the ability to illustrate narratives through images. As I became older, this passion inspired me to learn other media such as painting, printmaking, and eventually sculpture. When I went to college I was adamant about pursuing a career that I felt passionate about so studying art felt like a natural choice.