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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Former US Marine, prof showcases art in new exhibit

Hutchinson
Photo by Katie Canales
Hutchinson

The first time Joseph Hutchinson was inspired by art was in the first grade while playing with a box of Crayola crayons.
Years later, Hutchinson is no longer scribbling with crayons but has graduated to flowing landscapes and abstract portraits. The Joe Hutchinson Art Exhibit in the Memorial Student Center Reynolds Gallery opened Sept. 16.
Hutchinson said experiencing the world outside of his hometown drove him to experiment with creating art.
“I was born and raised on a ranch — only God can find this place on a map,” Hutchinson said. “Small school, no books, no art programs, no field trips or anything like that. It wasn’t until I got into the Marine Corps and got out that I realized that there was something greater in the world and it was better to create than destroy.”
Although he colored and painted in the first grade, Hutchinson said he was not seriously interested in art until he was about 25 years old. Working for United Airlines in San Francisco at the time, he and his wife visited The Presidio where they happened upon an exhibit of impressionist paintings. Hutchinson said when he saw two paintings side by side on the wall — one by Claude Monet and the other by Vincent Van Gogh — it was like a transformation.
“The walls dropped off, the ceiling fell away, the floor fell away — it was like I was witnessing a resurrection, if you will,” Hutchinson said. “I was so transfixed by these two paintings, I went out and bought five tubes of paint. I had the background of all that Crayola work, two brushes and a canvas and I never looked back. That was when I joined the kingdom of art.”
Hutchinson now lives in Santa Fe, N.M. He taught at Texas A&M for 31 years, led study abroad trips for eight summers to Italy and helped with the creation of the Visualization Department within the College of Architecture. Hutchinson has returned to College Station with four different styles to showcase in the MSC — still life, landscapes, figures and a darker series based on death.
“All my friends are passing, and I begin to think very seriously about this presence of death,” Hutchinson said.
Hutchinson said his paintings draw from both modernism and Renaissance-type paintings. Hutchinson said while the concept of the Renaissance was about developing an ideal, Modernism was a different kind of approach to art.
“They weren’t interested in making a living with their art,” Hutchinson said. “What they were doing was actually exploring the ideas of the world around them. Instead of Classicism and Idealism, they began to reflect the lives of everyday people. The result was a breakthrough in the way not only the artists thought, but also the way the world could be seen.”
Hutchinson’s biggest piece of advice to young artists is simply to not be lazy. Quoting Socrates and Thomas Jefferson, Hutchinson said while artists have a built-in intuition, artistic skills should be developed.
“You have to build your intuition until it becomes a part of you,” Hutchinson said. “And as Thomas Jefferson said, ‘It’s neither wealth nor splendor, but tranquility in an occupation.’ That’s what gives you happiness according to Jefferson, and I think that that’s true. Art was never about something to sell or something to buy, but it was about producing a happiness.”
Hutchinson’s exhibit will remain open until Oct. 24.

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