John Hare is a Kansas City-based artist and cover artist for Johnson County Library's 2017 Summer Guide. Hare is a member of the Northland Exposure Artist’s Gallery and his art has been exhibited in Northland Exposure Artists’ Gallery, Hendershot Gallery at Labetter Community College, and at several Johnson County Library locations. To understand Hare's practice more, we asked him a series of questions before the exhibition. The following are his replies:
What comes first – the medium or the message?
I believe the message comes first, especially in a project like this where the goal was to represent some positive aspects of Kansas City in a specific way. For the work on view, the message needed to be that Kansas City is fun, vibrant, and a thriving community with deep roots.
What do you feel is your role as an artist?
It sounds cheesy, but I believe my role as an artist is to be true to myself and have the courage to stand by ideas I believe in. Everything else flows from that. Whenever I deviate from that simple principle, I began to loathe making art, and the art itself stinks.
What influences your practice/works?
The biggest influence on my work is the weather. If it's nice out, I have a very hard time sitting in a studio. I'm a nature boy at heart. That’s why when others complain about rainy days, or cold days, or the short days of winter, I'm a happy camper. Those are the days I can go for hours and hours in my studio without guilt.
Who are the other artists you look to for inspiration?
Twice a month I get together with a group of four other local artists. We spend the day working, talking, snacking, and learning. We illustrators can be solitary creatures, so these meetings give us a chance to pretend like we've got normal jobs with coworkers. These artists inspire me and help keep me accountable. I love that they are always making stuff, and making it with love and attention. Not like a machine that's always spitting out a product, but like a bird that can't help but sing a song. Dang I'm getting cheesy again.
What other writings do you recommend reading to have a better understanding of your artworks and your art practice/process?
One of my "Coworker" buddies, Brad Sneed, is a Kansas artist and writer with a bunch of books in the Johnson County Library.
Missouri artist Laura Huliska-Beith is another one of my "Coworker" artists. I love the energy and playfulness of her illustrations.
I recently checked this book out and read it cover to cover in days. Excellent overview of American realism...hence the name. American Realism
For more information on the artist, visit john-hare.squarespace.com.