An Open Letter from Mia Hanson
My name is Mia, and this May 18th I will be celebrating my seventeenth wedding anniversary to an artist of considerable integrity who not only delights me as a person, but inspires me daily with his uniquely visionary works of art.
I met Hawk in the summer of 1997. He was exhibiting his oil paintings in a solo show in Park Slope, Brooklyn, just a block from where I lived at the time. I walked into the gallery, saw his work hanging from floor to ceiling salon-style, and felt my life change forever within the thirty minutes I was there. With the very first gaze into his paintings, my heart stood still for a moment. I had never seen nor felt work of such mystical power. The paintings had a presence that filled the room with a great stimulating calm and beckoned me each time to move closer to them.
By this time, Hawk had been in NYC for already two years and was an extremely prolific painter. He still had money saved up from living in Sweden and had 19 group shows and 2 solo shows all within his first year, 1995, when he made the journey from Stockholm to NYC, filled with the hope of one day showing with the most influential galleries in the city. In the late 90’s, New Art International proclaimed Hawk to be “the darling of the New York Underground Art Scene” and Art & AntiquesMagazine praised him as “one of the most collectible of the European Surrealists”.
Four years after we met we moved into New York’s landmarked Chelsea Hotel and from 2001-2010 Hawk painted almost daily. On our first day there, the owner of the hotel, Stanley Bard, saw Hawk’s work and encouraged him to exhibit his original paintings along the walls of the hotel’s staircase, corridors, VIP rooms and the lobby. Over time, this encouragement evolved to become a long-term permanent exhibition of over 50 original pieces with thousands of international hotel guests viewing Hawk’s work over the years.
In 2011, the Chelsea Hotel was sold to new owners, and the magical place that Hawk and I called home for nine years, had come to an end of it’s own, with an uncertain future.
In the transitioning years since moving from the Hotel Chelsea, fine-art sales have slowed considerably for us. We no longer have a public art gallery with thousands of visitors staying just beyond our front door. With a decrease in art sales has come substantial apartment downsizing for us every couple of years.
The past two years in particular has been tremendously difficult for Hawk on many levels, most of which has to do with his complete lack of an art studio. The act of painting is vital to his emotional and mental health, and without an outlet for his creativity, Hawk’s sense of life purpose is taken away.
For an artist like Hawk, who requires space to spread out oil paint, turpentine, 6 ft tall rolls of linen and cotton canvas, it is disheartening to see such a gifted painter’s space for creating art diminish so drastically in a matter of just a few years. Hawk has spent over 40 years honing and perfecting his painting technique. In the past, he was known for his canvases of considerable detail, sometimes utilizing up to a dozen intermittent layers of glaze referencing the techniques of the European Old Masters. Today, it is not possible for him to paint in this manner. We live in a shared apartment and occupy only a single standard-sized room within it. With over 70 oil paintings stored in the room, 25 moving boxes stacked and a futon that serves as a bed, whatever floorspace is left unused that day serves as a makeshift studio for Hawk. He paints on the wooden floor near our futon, hunched over his canvas, since there is no longer space for an easel (his easel had to be donated two years ago with our latest apartment downsize). Despite this impossible situation, he remains hopeful that somehow a solution can be found where he may once again paint with freedom.
This is the year that I am truly hopeful we can find change in our challenging living circumstances for the better since there’s no other downsizing option for us left. But in order to do this, we need your help. Hawk and I always have kept our head above water through sporadic painting sales, but this year our optimism regarding this survival method has dwindled. We have come to a time now where we need to reach out for help.
Photo by Ves Pitts. (2011).
Today, with nearly 2,000 Facebook friends, Hawk continues his relationship with his art admirers and is a valued member of the artistic community there.
If this fundraiser reaches you at the right time, would you consider either donating or sharing this post to others? By supporting our situation in any way possible, you will make it easier for us to obtain the financial resources necessary to find a suitable live/work space that will:
a) provide a private, quiet space so that Hawk may paint in a home environment, uninterrupted.
b) provide ample daylight to view oil colors correctly.
c) provide enough space for clients to view artwork.
d) provide proper storage for over-sized artworks.
From the start, Hawk has thought about ways to thank his donors. Early-on in the campaign he is able to provide certain incentives that we have available immediately to give such as: B/W etchings (only 4 left!) printed on archival paper, original drawings and also original oil paintings.
$100 donation: B/W etching (15×20)
$150 donation: hand-colored etching (15×20)
$200 donation: small original drawing (8×6)
$250 donation: large original drawing (10×8)
$500 or above donation: original oil painting
Hawk yearns to paint the luminous and mysterious paintings that he once created. Together we can help this artist rise again.
We both thank you for your support,
(we can’t do this without you) !!!
For more about Hawk and Mia, see: