Mapleton artist crafting wonders out of wood
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 halekinetics.com or facebook.com/halekinetics.