TINA HIRSIG tells her story

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About this body of work:
Nature is all that connects us physically and emotionally. There is a divide we set as humans to be “separate from nature” in order to provide shelter and comfort, however this divide has become dangerously vast as we see natural resources dwindling. Our comforts have removed us from the very thing that sustains us. Gary Snyder, the poet, has it correct when he writes: “there is no nature, we are nature.” My process of assembling found objects and meditative drawing investigates detachment and connection with our nature in a fast-paced world.

Why do you do what you do?

I make art to calm my mind and commune with nature.

What are you currently reading?

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (I am considering making a bunker now), Wonder by RJ Palacio (will break and then heal your heart), Infinity Net: The Autobiography of Yayoi Kusama (fascinating stories about her life and artist friends)

What makes you laugh?

Anything with Will Farrell and Tina Fey. If they are both in a movie it is a must-see and probably must-own.

Anything Monty Python. One of my most proud moments as a parent is showing my kids Monty Python’s “Holy Grail” and I can quote almost every line from the movie “Tommy Boy”. So, basically anything ridiculous.

How long have you been collaborating with artist, Laura Gaffke?

Laura and I met at Goddard College during our MFA residencies. It was an immediate friendship. We talk weekly on the phone for hours and visit one another once or twice a year (she lives in Connecticut). Our conversations can run from laughing about ourselves, to philosophy on life, to techniques we are trying in our studios. I believe our great friends are the ones that are continually teaching us something new.

What is your favorite thing in your studio?

My roller skates from my years of being on a roller derby team called the Lowcountry Highrollers. They remind me of my tougher side and doing things that surprise even myself.

What would the soundtrack of your life include?

Elementary School:
Madonna, Michael Jackson, Bruce Springstein

Middle School:
Whitesnake (the 45 record no less), Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, anything I could tape off the radio!

High School:
Led Zepplin (box set), Aerosmith, Nirvana, U2, Live, Pearl Jam

Black Crows, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Billy Corgan/Smashing Pumpkins

Adult life:
I got into crunchy folk music for a while when I lived in Boston and saw a lot of live music in Cambridge, MA. Recently I have returned to some of my bluesy, rock favorites such as Black Keys and Buddy Guy.

If you could have one super power, what would it be?

I actually LOVE Marvel movies. I like characters like Black Widow who don’t necessarily have a super power but kick some serious butt with her intelligence and athleticism. Strong female characters get me fired up!

Most memorable travel experience.

I recently traveled to Ireland with my husband to celebrate 20 years of marriage. Not only was it a fantastic time together, but also experiencing the landscape moved me greatly. The rugged cliffs falling into the ocean contrasted with the mellow, green hills was unlike anything I have seen or felt. I am inspired to see more.

Currently, which artists are you inspired by? Why?

Yayoi Kusama for her originality and honesty with self and others. Bettye Saar for her holding true to the fact that art is about ideas and her unwavering work challenging stereotypes. Aldwyth for her persistence as a working artist for decades despite rejections, not to mention her gorgeous aesthetic and ability to assemble found objects in exciting ways.

Why do you choose to work with found objects/ found imagery?

My parents are antique dealers so I grew up around soulful, fascinating objects hanging from the ceiling and tucked into corners. My parents still find treasures for me (such as the watch mold in my drawing titled “Passing Time”). This fascination with objects has extended to natural objects, which I gather on walks, paddles and bike rides. For me, these objects become a metaphor for re-connection with self and with the earth.

About Tina:
Tina Hirsig is an interdisciplinary artist in medium and discipline. Pushing the boundaries of drawing, photography, and collage she creates mixed-media sculptures and assemblages in dialogue with nature. Tina’s connection with nature and objects are directly related to childhood experiences. The daughter of two antique dealers, her childhood home is full of fascinating objects hanging from the ceiling and tucked into corners. Many of the objects woven into her artwork are treasures given by her parents. Month-long road trips taken as a child with her brothers and parents sparked a life-long connection to nature and traveling.

Tina moved from the Midwest to Boston, Massachusetts seeking her first experiences of a dedicated art and teaching practice which she established for seven years. Looking for new adventures, she moved to Charleston, South Carolina in 2003 and has since completed her Master of Fine Arts in Interdisciplinary Arts from Goddard College, actively maintains a singular and collaborative studio practice, regularly exhibits artwork locally and nationally, and gives back to her community through teaching.

She lives on James Island in Charleston, SC with her two sons and husband of 20 years. Link to her personal site here.