The shapes that I use for my artwork are inspired from my childhood and my exposure to Norwegian folk art, such as Rosemaling and Wood Carvings by my Ancestors.
My Artwork is a juxtaposition of tightly structured and loosely playful. I enjoy the journey from the right hemisphere of my brain to the left and back again, in the process producing an invitation for the viewer to engage with color, shape and the way they interact with each other.
This current series is a new collection that pays homage to artists that have inspired and influenced my work. While at University, I had the opportunity to study the Impressionists and I was hooked!
I am currently working on my first piece of public art, “Blomster”, a ten foot tall, powder coated sculpture that will be planted in Mercer Island’s sculpture park and delighted to be joining Fogue gallery.
Louise Hankes was born in San Francisco as part of a Norwegian family, and grew up just across the Golden Gate Bridge in Novato. As a small child, she became enchanted by the Norwegian folk art on display throughout her home. In high school, she had a fascinating art teacher named Hail Darby whose studio class was filled with paint, twine, yarn, looms, and limitless wonder. Louise experimented with making a pinhole camera, trapunto, weaving, printing techniques, sculpture and mask making.
While she was earning her Bachelor’s of Fine Art, Louise had the opportunity to study under Merrill Shatzman, who is currently a Professor of the Practice, Emeritus of Art and Visual Studies at Duke University. Merrill pushed Louise to see the negative spaces and focus on “mark making.” Another professor, Shirley Chapman, hired her upon graduation to work for a large commercial silk screen company where she thrived in the film department.
Louise spent the next 15 years working in many darkrooms and producing work that was positive and negative. In 2000, she had her first child, a daughter, and her second, a son, in 2002. When the kids started school in 2005, Louise developed and taught an Art curriculum for their school as a volunteer. In 2009, her daughter Sophie asked, “Mommy, what should I do when I grow up?” and Louise answered, “You should do something that makes your heart sing!” to which she further probed, “What makes your heart sing, mommy?” Momentarily stunned by the insightful question, Louise soon threw herself back into creating original artwork.
Painting with a group of artists has been an integral part of her process.
What began with conceptual paintings on a small series of 6”x6” boards in 2009 has grown into a body of work encompassing massive paintings, sculptures, textiles, mobiles, printmaking and jewelry. Entitled “Whirlism,” this series is a blend of design and play, and numerous collectors in the U.S. and abroad have acquired these pieces for their collections.
Today, Louise is working to bring the Whirlism shapes to life as sculpture in public spaces.
Louise is drawn to works Alexander Calder and Janet Echelman, and in 2017 she discovered Yayoi Kusama. All of these amazing artists pioneered new journeys in art beyond the “traditionally excepted” role of the artist.
Her newest works are an homage to impressionist artists that have influenced her passion for making art.