Among the sculptures outside Noyes Art Gallery is a tall welded bell, made from various scraps and repurposed objects. This large outdoor sculpture is just one of Lincoln artist Doug Hawco’s creations.
Inside the gallery is a collection of smaller works populating his display, including a group of fanciful skeletons and an oversized scorpion.
But Hawco didn’t start out building three-dimensional objects.
“I worked in two-dimensions – drawing – all through high school. For a while, I did tattoos,” he recalls.
But it was his work as an HVAC contractor that started his exploration of sculpture, specifically when he started welding.
Although he initially spent much of his creative problem-solving energy at work, a job change offered the chance to create for fun. In 2007, he joined the Noyes Gallery, and then he says he had to produce. “The gallery gives me an outlet and keeps me being creative,” he says.
And many things can spark that creativity. For example, Hawco says he has always liked skulls, and looking at propane bottles reminded him of skulls. In playing with the bottles, Hawco developed his skeletons – caricatures engaging in all kinds of activities.
“I hope to custom-make skeletons,” he says. “For example, you could order one doing something Grandpa did.” Whatever the request, Hawco will try to bring out the fun.
Hawco says other ideas come from the stuff he has “laying around.” He created the large bell from an empty propane tank. Bells are a theme that Hawco has explored in various shapes, sizes and materials. He notes, “I did a series of little copper bells. We were using copper at work.”
This dialogue between Hawco’s work life and his art continues.
“A lot of times I work in arcs. I learned that through work,” he explains. Using arcs or sections from a circle, he can build other shapes like an “S.”
“I am fascinated with two-dimensional images and bringing them out into three dimensions," he adds.
Hawco says this led to a collaboration with gallery owner Julia Noyes to create a wall hanging.
“I like playing with both abstract and realistic imagery,” he says.
And when is a piece successful? “If I like it,” Hawco says. “And when it starts a conversation.”
Those interested in seeing more of Hawco’s work can visit the Noyes Gallery or make an appointment to visit Hawco’s studio. The gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. First and Third Friday openings take place from 6-9 p.m. adhering to current public health guidelines, and also on Facebook livestreaming hosted by Julia Noyes at 7 p.m.
You can also explore noyesartgallery.com and follow the Noyes Facebook and Instagram pages to see work.