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Conversations with the Inspiring Rebecca Hucks

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rebecca Hucks.

Rebecca, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I have always been creative growing up. I would always have some sort of creative project going on. Sewing, crocheting, painting, making dolls, writing books and always journaling, etc. So, creating and designing new concepts has been a part of my life since a young age.

When it got to my senior year in high school, I was trying to figure out what degree path I wanted to take. An art degree never crossed my mind. I was really trying to discern what I was passionate about, what sparked joy and motivation in me. For many years when relatives or friends would suggest art, I would automatically shut the idea out.

When I eventually graduated high school I sort of took a gap year, except I was still taking online core classes. I had an incredible opportunity to move to Hawaii to work as a full-time live-in nanny. While living there I needed an outlet for my downtime to create. Since I had to pack four months of my life in one suitcase, journaling and my sketchbooks were the only things I had.

I started journaling a lot more than I had growing up and deeply reflecting on the environment and the people around me. As a religious person, I started seeking growth and clarity in my faith. Understanding all that God was trying to show and teach me while I was on this ‘break’. My time journaling there became very reflective and taught me a deeper understanding of myself, which would later then greatly influence my art in college.
I moved back to Columbus Georgia where my family resided and started at Columbus State University in the Bachelors of Fine Arts program in the Fall of 2017. There wasn’t a pivotal moment when I chose to be an art major, I just felt a peace about taking that route when all the other majors made me feel uneasy.

Now, I am in my senior year at Columbus State with a focus on sculpture. I would have never thought that sculpture would be what I wanted to do. To be honest, I didn’t even know sculpture, in the way I create now, could be an art form. I thought “art” was simply just painting. I didn’t understand that conceptual ideas could be so influential in the art world.

My first couple of years at Columbus State University opened and broadened my perspective of art. I learned about concepts and critical thinking. I learned how to analyze and critique art.

It was in one of my foundation’s classes that started me down the path of pursuing sculpture. For my 3D design class, we had to create a body-altering sculpture. I was trying to think of ways I could make a full-body piece with materials I already had at home. Growing up, my mom and I did a lot of sewing so we had tons of scrap fabrics and I knew I wanted to Incorporate those in some way. I also knew I needed a lighter material since I wanted this piece to be worn and cover the body. I wanted to incorporate a familiar technique so I chose crochet. I gathered friends and families recycled stashes of plastic bags and created them into “Plarn” (plastic yarn). I got crocheting, added scrap materials and “Artificial frippery” was born.

I had no clue that my sculptural creation would become such a statement piece or get as much attention as it did. I won Best in Show and Honorable Mention at a couple of different exhibitions at CSU.

Ever since then, I have been creating these funky and kitschy sculptures that have become a physical representation of my memories and dreams.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Along the way, there has definitely been some struggles, mostly with myself overthinking. I tend to get so engrossed in the thinking and reflecting process while creating, that I will sometimes start to neglect the creating process and focus more on the creative thinking aspect.

Journaling has been a constant outlet for me throughout all of life. I am a thinker and dreamer, I love to get lost in my mind. And that can definitely be a good thing since most of the inspiration for my sculptures comes from my reflections of the past and getting lost in the dreams of my mind.

But what I have had to learn is, don’t stay there too long. You have to sometimes put all thinking aside and just create. Release what is in your subconscious and trust that the art will follow. Even if you think you create the worst piece of art ever, that experience teaches you. You can always learn from mistakes and turn flaws into inspirations. You just have to do. Get your hands moving.

One of the most valuable pieces of advice I have been told by professors and friends is “just create” and that is exactly what I would tell any other women starting their journey: Just. Make. Art.

My motto for many years now has been “Always keep dreaming”.

But most importantly, always keep creating.

What do you do, what do you specialize in, what are you known for, etc. What are you most proud of? What sets you apart from others?
As I mentioned a bit ago, I am a sculpture artist. Specifically mixed media and usually using found objects. Lately, I have been working with a lot of children toys and yarn.

I am known for and have kind of established myself as the artist who uses plastic bags. The majority of the form in my first large sculptural piece (“Artificial Frippery”) was plastic bags. When I created “Artificial Frippery #2”, the form itself used mostly plastic bags, but I started incorporating other elements like yarn and toys. This served as the transitional piece from “Artificial Frippery” to my most recent work (currently untitled) that uses just yarn, toys, and textured ribbons.

I think what sets me apart from others is my bright and funky use of materials. How gaudy they tend to be.

Color plays such an important part in how the viewer perceives things. Color has the ability to depict moods and emotions. It’s so powerful. I love the playfulness and fun elements that bright colors express in my sculptures. Joy, even if it’s just a temporary joy from viewing it.

I think this will always be one of the leading elements in my work that makes my sculptures stand out and what I continue to become known for.

For good reason, society often focuses more on the problems rather than the opportunities that exist, because the problems need to be solved. However, we’d probably also benefit from looking for and recognizing the opportunities that women are better positioned to capitalize on. Have you discovered such opportunities?
I think because of such an emphasis on the challenges women face today allows for more opportunities. Since the media brings awareness of the challenges a lot of us women undergo, this in some way can allow women to be well-positioned for opportunities. But within everything, there is always going to be struggles and challenges in achieving some opportunities.

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Image Credit:
Rebecca Hucks

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