David Habben, known by his alter ego ‘Habbenink’, is a talented illustrator and creative mind. He lives with his family in Utah. Habben was profiled previously on The Krakens for his religious works.
You once said, “good art equals good communication.” Explain. I still believe that, but my understanding of it has changed. I’m learning more and more about the possibilities of what can be communicated. More than just communicating a direct narrative or strong emotions, I think a work of art can be a small link in a larger chain of thought and direction. We can see beautifully crafted abstractions or hear new and exciting music and come away having our mind opened to new ways of seeing the world around us, both physically and figuratively. One piece of art, film, music, etc. isn’t going to be the one source of change in someone’s life, it’s just a piece of the puzzle. It may be a turning point or an “eye-opener”, but it will still need to be buoyed up by other experiences to create lasting change. Seeing things that way relieves some of the pressure of creating that one great piece and allows me to grow more incrementally and trust my viewers to do the same. So, my definition of “good art” and “good communication” has become less imposing and more accessible.
What’s your career like these days? Busy and varied. This year has included everything from snowboard design and custom sneakers to editorial and children’s book illustration. I had been full-time on a marketing team in Salt Lake City for about a year and a half, but made the transition soon back to school for an MFA at the University of Utah. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, so I’m thrilled to finally be able to make it happen. I’m teaching illustration there as well, which was another dream of mine. Fortunately, I have a wonderful wife who’s incredibly supportive of this crazy artist ride we’re on.
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Images courtesy David Habben and 15 Bytes.
Jeff Decker is a renowned sculptor widely known for his work on motorcycles. One of his most notable pieces is By the Horns, a 16-foot-tall, 5,000-pound, hill-climbing bronze biker at Milwaukee’s Harley-Davidson Museum (below). He was profiled previously on The Krakens for his series Hunting and Gathering. Decker lives with his family in Utah.
Talk about making the jump from artist to full-time career artist. I suppose the moment I became a career artist, was when I stopped working at the tiny restaurant my wife and I created, to work at a foundry. The foundry paid a few dollars an hour less than we paid our kitchen employees. Art classes at university didn’t motivate me, yet I kept finding excuses to stay in the arts. I suppose a selfish drive pushed me to stick with something that was counterintuitive to my own common sense. I was driven even more by hunting and gathering old stuff, than even creating, and the foundry offered a skill I could use in restoring motorcycles as well as casting sculpture. My bronzes have never garnered interest in the art world, but I did address a subject that most serious artist had ignored. It is easy to be relevant, when you are only fool doing what you do. Of course, any clever explanation I my provide for my art or myself, is just in hindsight. I never have much or had any method to my progress.
You once wrote, “There is nothing that embodies the urgency or our age and the modern synergy of man and machine better than a motorcycle and its rider.” Are there motorcycles you are still yearning to sculpt? How do you keep the pieces fresh and innovative? There is a reverence for Vermeer, a debt to Stan Wanlass and a nod to Elmyer De Hoya. Geiger, Odd Nurdrum, Rob’t Williams and the name dropping goes on… Murakami tickles me today and I’ll tell you something different tomorrow. DaVinci inspires more than any other. Obviously. But for me, it is not the Mona Lisa nor his religious work. His mechanical doodlings move me most. His grotesque sketches. The ideas he never brought to fruition. With the passing of centuries I am able to steal his ideas and marry them to mechanical wonders that now exist. So perhaps the motorcycle itself will not always be my only muse, but I have not lost my love for the damn thing yet.
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