The Rising Arts Writers Program is an initiative created by The Arts Beacon to encourage, mentor, support and post writings by aspiring locals writers. With the intention of fostering critical responses to art and artists in the Valley, the RAW Program creates an opportunity for up and coming writers to comment on their own art scene using the platform of The Arts Beacon website while also being a valuable resource for local artists seeking insights into their practice.
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The 2 in 1: Exhibition: An Exhibition of Identities by Travis Ivey a.k.a. HANK is a creative and intriguing show at the Step Gallery in downtown Phoenix. Travis Ivey has an alter-ego, HANK. Ivey uses this alter-ego to challenge the stereotype of artists. He uses HANK to show that artists don’t have to have one certain style of art, and that they can cross between both styles. Ivey’s work is modern, defying, and different. He uses materials found in everyday life to create statement pieces. The Step Gallery exhibited Ivey’s colorful and playful pieces, which included gum and its wrappers. Chewed pieces of gum were mushed together to create pyramid like sculptures. Some of the pieces were quite large while others were small and placed next to each other along a wall. They appeared to represent different mountain forms, or at least the notion that mountains have more than one shape or form.
Another piece of Ivey’s was colorful and playful like the gum, but on a canvas. This piece, titled, “Time Map,” was a collage of security envelopes and glitter. Its main point was that time is not linear like most people tend to believe. Time may not have an actual form, but it is more accurate to depict it in a circular pattern because it is never ending.
Alternatively, Ivey’s alter-ego HANK, creates naturalistic landscapes depicting the Southwest. The one below is titled “Horseshoe Bend,” and is a beautiful oil painting of the Grand Canyon. The water is so blue and clear it almost looks real, and the red rock formations are so precisely rendered.
Another beautiful piece by HANK is titled, “Portraits of the Valley Saguaro,” and shows an intricate depiction of Saguaro cactuses. All of HANK’s paintings look like photographs from afar, but up close one can see the intricate details painted onto his linen canvases.
Travis Ivey seems to use his name and alter-ego’s name to his disadvantage as well. One would think that Travis Ivey would create works like the naturalistic rendering of the Saguaro cactuses since his name appears to be normal and real. One would think HANK would create the defying, brightly colored, and strange pieces since his name is in all caps and a little different from the name of a normal person. The opposite is true though. HANK creates the realistic portraits of nature while Ivey creates the modern and strange works. The irony behind these names might be a purposeful message aiding to Ivey’s point that artists aren’t always what one would expect them to be. Ivey brought his two different styles together into one exhibit to “challenge some of the stereotypes of being an artist and the creative process.” The works are completely different in medium and style, but convey similar messages by showing the landscapes of Arizona. HANK shows the realistic natural surroundings with the classical use of oil, while Ivey portrays abstract surroundings with modern materials found in his everyday life.