Maple­ton artist craft­ing won­ders out of wood

Serve Daily - - FRONT PAGE - By Thea Hansen

What do you get when you cross the mod­ern tech­nol­ogy of soft­ware engi­neer­ing and the cen­turies-old tech­nol­ogy of wood­work­ing? Well, for Maple­ton’s Karl Hale, the re­sult sur­prised even him: fine art.

“I’m a fa­ther, a hus­band, a tech guy, a mu­si­cian, a jug­gler, all kinds of ti­tles I’m com­fort­able call­ing my­self,” Hale said, “But, an artist? That’s one I’m still strug­gling with.” One of Hale’s ear­li­est mem­o­ries is of a draw­ing he painstak­ingly made of a lit­tle man that he proudly showed his friend. Af­ter look­ing con­fused for a bit, the friend said, “Are you hold­ing it up­side down?”

That early feed­back guided Hale for the next 30 years, but then he “ac­ci­den­tally” cre­ated some­thing new.

“I wasn’t try­ing to make art. I just wanted to make a pretty mar­ble run,” he re­called. But when that first piece won two first place and Peo­ple’s Choice

awards at the two largest wood carv­ing shows in Utah and ac­cep­tance into the pres­ti­gious Spring Salon at the Springville Mu­seum of Art, Hale re­al­ized he had some­thing spe­cial.

“Maybe it’s be­cause I didn’t grow up as an artist,” Hale ex­plained, “but I really want my art to ap­peal to peo­ple who wouldn’t nor­mally seek out art: the an­a­lyt­i­cal, left-brained types.” And this engi­neer­ing ap­peal is ap­par­ent whether in the com­plex mech­a­nisms of some of his pieces or the in­tri­cate, geo­met­ric mazes of oth­ers. But it wouldn’t be art if it didn’t ap­peal to the more aes­thet­i­cally in­clined as well. As shown by now three pieces be­ing dis­played in ju­ried art shows, the ex­perts seem to agree Hale has ful­filled that re­quire­ment. In ad­di­tion to his first piece be­ing dis­played at the Springville Mu­seum of Art ear­lier this year, an­other is cur­rently on dis­play at the same mu­seum and a third is at the LDS Church History Mu­seum in Salt Lake City. Not bad for an artist who is only in his sec­ond year of pro­duc­tion.

Hale hopes to en­tice com­pa­nies and other or­ga­ni­za­tions to buy his art for their lob­bies and other pub­lic spa­ces. “Ev­ery­one wants some­thing unique and en­gag­ing,” Hale said. “Well, I think my art has that, plus it is in­ter­ac­tive and in­tel­lec­tu­ally stim­u­lat­ing.” Com­bine this with his plan to de­sign the cor­po­rate art us­ing the par­tic­u­lar or­ga­ni­za­tion’s brand­ing and lo­gos, and Hale might just be pro­duc­ing the next big thing.

To see more of Hale’s sculp­tures in ac­tion, visit halekinet­ or face­­ics.

Karl Hale

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