Artist: Jacob Hogan
Exhibition: Esoteric Murmers
Media: Metals and mixed media
Gallery: Dutzi Gallery
About the Artist
Jacob Hogan is a fun loving guy with a cool background. Born into a family of architects, doctors, aircraft maintenance supervisors, and a building crafts manager, there is no doubt that he would do something extraordinary. Growing up with a family like that would usually cause a lot of anxiety, but Hogan was fortunate enough that his family always let him do what he wanted and never pushed him towards something he didn’t like. They encouraged him at whatever he tried to succeed at, and never shot him down. He recounts a time when he was 17 and how he played with legos like a “big nerd.” He says “I liked to take things apart and put them together to find something better.” The true words of a tinkerer.
Today Jacob is a student at CSULB studying for a BFA in media and 3D metals.
One of the purposes of Esoteric Murmers is to show the division between industrial design, interior design, and fabrication. This is clear throughout the exhibit because he has so many different artifacts. For example, we have the beehive inspired lamp, a multiple chain link series of necklaces, and a woven countertop. The beehive lamp is such a cool piece that I definitely want one in my home. The four cylindrical lights encased with a beehive-inspired case are not something that you see every day. The piece delivers itself to a somewhat 60’s modern vibe, and it’s not something you would expect to see anymore. Seeing the piece through a picture really does not capture the coolness of it, even though if you stand next to it, it’s really hot. The bars that the lights hang from can even get warm to the touch because the lamp radiates heat everywhere. Maybe you could cook some steaks on there to get a honeycomb design.
So while the beehive lamp has somewhat of an interior design purpose, the woven countertop is something that has more of an industrial vibe. The counter top, while it is a nice art piece to have at home, and is certainly functional, has a more industrial essence because of the different materials to make it. Hogan used metals like brass and copper, mixed with resin and wood so that it would be sturdy enough to put things on. To hold it up, Hogan set the counter top on two aluminum/steel pipes. the piece in itself looks pretty ordinary until you get a bird’s eye view of it and see the woven metals underneath the resin. This is not a piece that was meant to be an art piece, but something that just happened.
Now we have the chain link series of necklaces that are all made of different metals. The prototype is made of steel and took Jacob about a month or so to complete. The second model is made out of copper, and unlike the first chain, it took Jacob a week to finish. Certainly knowing what he was doing and getting into the rhythm of orchestrating all those links was easier the second time than the first. The last chain is made out of brass. This series of necklaces, certainly look cool and like something you would see at New York fashion week, but they’re not meant for wearing. Actually, Hogan intends these more as a piece of fabrication where he shows the process of making them. He intends to “demystify” the process of creating a work of art, that most artist often tend to hide. Because his art is more hands-on and produced in a different matter, he wants to let people know how he does it all. And in some way, the writings and concept pictures that he draws up before he executes his work, show the brilliant mind he has.
So Jacob has a brilliant mind, we know. But half of that has to do with the fact that he’s really creative, and the other half has to do with the fact that he’s really smart. Not discredit his own abilities or anything, but his intelligence has a lot to do with the people in his family. Esoteric Murmers is mainly about the influences our ancestors have on us and how they affect us subconsciously and unconsciously. As I had mentioned earlier, Jacob is surrounded by architects, crafters, and designers. There were many times while growing up, that Jacob felt that he was the black sheep of the family because of this. They have all influenced Jacob, subconsciously, to do something that requires him to work with his hands. And sometimes that can be difficult to deal with if what you like isn’t necessarily related to doing that. However, Jacob always did keep in mind that he could do anything he wanted because his parents always told him so, and in that, he found that life is about discovery. That brings me to the second thing Esoteric Murmers is about. It’s about discovery, discovery about oneself through different things that all have to with you. Like most other artists that come to the CSULB art galleries, this is Jacob Hogan’s first exhibit. Meaning that before this, none of his friends had ever seen his art and he has never had any feedback on it. It sounds a bit weird, because most artists have had some sort of feedback on their work before their first gallery, usually that feedback determines what makes it to the gallery and what doesn’t. Hogan never did feel ready to put his work out there and always had some insecurities about it, but hey we all do.
That, however, brings me to the third thing that Jacob tries to say through his gallery. As we know, he was insecure about his art, but that’s mainly because he doesn’t consider himself an artist. I asked him what he considered himself as and he said, “I’m anything but an artist.” Hogan says that the reason he makes his pieces are not because he wants to necessarily inspire someone, but because he wants the pieces to be utilitarian, he wants them to have a use, and there is always that added bonus that he just wants to make enough money to pay the rent. It sounds a bit off-putting at first, but when you think about it, it goes back to the first week of art were Coach Glenn made us watch the first art talk video and we said that art is very subjective. We all put our own influences into art and we all give different things different values. Jacob puts a value on his work, maybe not as much as I will put on it, but he a puts it there nonetheless.
At first, I didn’t want to write about Jacob’s exhibit. I had planned to write about someone else because I had visited their gallery a few days prior and thought they would be cool. However, when I visited Esoteric Murmers and saw the pieces, I felt sublime. I loved the fact that there was a couch in the gallery with people sitting on it just talking and that, unlike most of the other artists at the galleries, Jacob never left his. I swear, I walked into his art gallery like five times, and every time, he was in there talking with people. He never waited for anybody to approach him at the table outside, but was actively seeking out the people looking at his art inside the gallery. He saw a couple kids admiring his chains and he went up to them to explain in more detail how he had done it. I was in there looking at the photos on the walls and he started talking to me about his family. Not a single artist at school has ever just walked up to me and started a conversation, and I think that’s why I loved the exhibit even more.
What really made me want to write about this exhibit though, wasn’t just Jacob, but a particular piece that he made. Jacob made the super freaking cool tea infuser that was inspired by a British WWII sea mine. I mean just look at the picture attached, the tea infuser looks so weird and steampunk like. I didn’t know it was a tea infuser until I actually got close enough to look at the small punctured holes. I could definitely imagine myself filling it up with early grey tea, putting it in my favorite coffee mug, and sipping it like a bad ass. I know I wanted the beehive lamp, but this piece was something that I needed. If I could, I would have grabbed it and taken it home with me, but I wouldn’t because it’s not mine to take home, yet.
Yes, I know its weird that what really made me want to write about a certain artist is a tea infuser, but I think I was just way more curious to know why he made a tea infuser. Once Jacob finished telling me about his family and his background, I asked him about it. And to tell you that his first answer was a bit disappointing to me, is nothing. I was thrown off by his initial response because, to quote him, he said “That was an assignment piece. I had some earl grey tea, which I don’t really drink, and I had to figure out something to do with it. So the tea infuser is what I came up with.” I couldn’t believe that something that I had loved so much, to the point of dire necessity, didn’t mean as much to him. But hey, isn’t that what life is sometimes like? I had to find out more about Jacob now. And what I learned about Jacob and his exhibit, is everything that I have written for you.
Don’t hate on Jacob because it seems like he doesn’t like his work as much as I do. He loves his work, but he wants it to be useful more than anything else. After this exhibit is over, he plans to take it all apart, and redo many of his pieces to make them better. He wants to change designs and enforce concepts so that he can better himself and everything he does.