The Banana Factory Arts Center has been Kim Hogan’s home for ten years now. Years ago, she took over the summer programs of a departing resident artist and has stayed with us as a teaching artist since. Here at the Banana Factory, Hogan wears many hats: resident artist, summer camp teacher, outreach program facilitator, and class instructor. Hogan sat with me in her bright and airy studio where her many completed mosaics twinkled in the summer sun.
On Her Path
Both of Hogan’s parents were artists and teachers, so she jokes that she was “predisposed” to her passions. She fondly recalled her father saying that his father always said to “never let work get in the way of your happiness.” And so, Hogan pursued illustration at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan, NY. Her path was clear, as she “was always selected for awards and programs [in art].” Interestingly enough, when she was in kindergarten, she aspired to be a farmer’s wife. She also knew she would be an artist at ten years old, and she is “happy she found her footing early on.” Hogan laughed as she told me that she now lives on a farm and is an accomplished artist; she’s “one of the few people whose childhood dreams have come true.” Her next dream? Returning to Europe as an artist in residence in France. (Though we’d miss her, we have our fingers crossed!)
On Her Chosen Medium
Hogan began her art career by painting and selling watercolor portraits of children. She also painted murals and eventually built a reputation as a mural artist. However, in the midst of a difficult divorce, Hogan took up mosaic art. Mosaics provided a “totally different art form” from painting portraits or murals. She laughed as she added that “it felt great to smash things!” Hogan’s art allowed her to release frustrations while creating. “It’s like doing a jigsaw puzzle,” she explained. This jigsaw puzzle grows out of broken pieces, and she fits them together to form a new picture. “It’s the perfect metaphor,” she said, “to take broken pieces and make something new and beautiful.”
Hogan also noted that she is always balancing several projects at once. They’re a true “labor of love,” consuming endless hours of her time, but all worthwhile. In terms of inspiration, Hogan said it “comes from everywhere.” For instance, a beautiful mandala mosaic hangs right next to Hogan’s studio door. She pointed to it and started to explain that this piece grew out of a deep love for a particular gallery cat (“Buddha Cat”). Hogan grinned as she said, “He was the fattest cat I’ve ever seen!” Hence, his tongue-in-cheek nickname.
On Her Current Work
As part of ArtsQuest’s summer art camps at the Banana Factory, Hogan teaches 3D assemblages, fiber arts, and jewelry classes for children (4-9 year-olds) and pre-teens (10-12 year-olds). She also teaches adult classes in mosaics. These classes often sell out, so be sure to keep an eye out for them!
During the school year, Hogan participates in outreach programming, including ArtSmart (formerly known as B-Smart) at the Banana Factory Arts Center. ArtSmart is an after-school program that provides middle school students of marginalized groups with additional learning opportunities in visual arts, ceramics, digital photography, video game design, and hot glass. Hogan noted that “it’s a constructive way for students to spend time outside their homes and school.” In the program, Hogan teaches wearable art and mosaics.
Outside of the Banana Factory Arts Center, Hogan works with patients undergoing cancer treatment at the St. Luke’s Anderson campus in Easton. She brings little mosaics, jewelry, painting, drawing, and origami projects to help create a “therapeutic and relaxing” environment. Plus, Hogan added, “they get to keep whatever they make.”
Looking forward, Hogan mentioned the projects and positions she was anticipating. “The Annual [Resident] Artists’ Show is coming up. I like to work on larger projects for that because it’s a good time to make an impact,” she said. She also has smaller projects in the works, as the inspiration strikes. She is writing her own children’s book, Elsie’s Courage. Hogan’s circus-themed mosaics will be the book’s illustrations. With regard to new projects, she noted, “It’s always good to learn something new because it stretches you. Humbles you, even.”
Hogan will also be holding Artist in Residency positions at Lehighton Middle School and Saucon Valley Elementary School, where she will work on collaborative mosaic projects with the students.
- July 7th, 2017 – First Friday at the Banana Factory Arts Center from 6 – 9 p.m. A reception for ArtsQuest members begins at 5 p.m. Visit the studios, talk with local artists, and view their amazing work. Hogan’s studio #350 is open to all visitors.
- July 15th and July 16th, 2017 – Bethlehem’s Blueberry Festival at Burnside Plantation from 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Sunday. Hogan will be demonstrating her mosaic art throughout each day.
- July 19th, 2017 – Hogan will be teaching a mosaics class on Wednesday evenings at 6 p.m. for four weeks.
- August 6th, 2017 – Hogan will be leading a Musikfest Discover Workshop on mosaic tiles at 6:30 p.m.
- September 13th, 2017 – Hogan will be teaching two mosaics classes: one on Wednesday mornings at 9:30 a.m. and another on Wednesday evenings at 6:30 p.m. Both classes last for six weeks.
- October 24th, 2017 – Hogan will be teaching a mosaics class on Tuesday evenings at 6:30 p.m. for six weeks.
- October 25th, 2017 – Hogan will be teaching a mosaics class on Wednesday mornings at 9:30 a.m. for six weeks.