Oct 08, 2012 06:05AM
● By Style
Photo by Dante Fontana, © Style Media Group.
Metal is typically seen as a masculine element.
Yet in the hands of metal sculptor and local artist Kristen Hoard, rigid metals – including aluminum, copper and steel – become flowing curvaceous images of flowers, hearts and celestial bodies.
“I used to go to art shows all the time and I loved metal. It never really occurred to me to make art myself, and then someone said to me, ‘Why don’t you take a class?’” Hoard remembers. The humble beginnings of her career in early 2000 were spent taking welding classes at a local art school and creating pieces on the patio of her small condo in the Bay Area. It quickly became clear that running a 50-foot extension cord through her house to power a welder and plasma cutter was limiting her creativity, so she sought out an area with a reputation for embracing the arts, and soon discovered the beautiful community of Sacramento.
In 2005, Hoard made a significant shift in her style. Having previously focused on masks, faces and mirrors made from a variety of scrap metals, an enlightening experience at a music festival sent her in an entirely different direction. She decided to take the intriguing ways in which fire, light and metal were combined by the artists at the festival and make it into more accessible art that could be brought into the home. As a result, her sculptures took on a whole new life.
Hoard has also bravely tackled the topic of mental health with her sculptures. Since her own sister struggled with mental illness and depression during the majority of her adulthood, Hoard was inspired to create pieces meant to give the viewer insight into the mind of someone suffering from depression. In the fall of 2010, the Sacramento-based 2110 Art Gallery invited Hoard to exhibit her work alongside Shirley Mason (the woman made famous in a book titled Sybil about her multiple personality disorder). The Edge of Darkness, a tall metal box featuring quotes from her sister about her struggles welded around it, was Hoard’s most meaningful piece.
“People got to walk around the piece to read each thing. It created a different state of mind for the viewer,” she says. But the work wasn’t easy. “These pieces were really new for me, because they were conceptual instead of decorative. It was a transformation for me, but it took a lot out of me too.” The outcome was worth every ounce of her energy, though. “I think my sister felt really honored,” she says.
Currently, Hoard’s channeling all of her creativity into giving customers the utmost beauty in her creations infused with metal, fire and light. “When I’m working with clients for a custom piece, I try to meet them and see their space – the colors and the artistic style, the feel and energy [of the space], and design from there,” Hoard says. With insight like hers, people are certain to love displaying her work.
Visit kristenhoard.com for more information.