September 11th, 2021
I love a good road trip, and driving to see an artist’s new studio is a top-priority. So when Havoc Hendricks invited me to see his new studio space, I did not hesitate. When he told me the address and where I was headed? The mall? Feelings of joy ensued. Who doesn’t love a good trip to the mall? As a child of the ’90s, mall nostalgia is a real thing: sweet Cinnabon smells, the darkness of Hot Topic, blasting music at Abercrombie. It all comes back.
But malls have changed. My 5- and 7-year-old daughters have never walked in a mall, and couldn’t quite grasp the concept when I tried to explain it to them. “Why would you want to walk around an indoor Main Street, Mom?” Anyway, commerce mostly takes place online now and in a lesser and lesser sense in small brick and mortar spaces. Online shopping, we all do it. So the retail spaces are often going empty and managers of mall properties are looking for tenants. Any tenants. And at any price? The artists will come calling.
At the Gateway Mall in Salt Lake City, we saw this about a decade ago: as the new City Creek outdoor shops opened, stores transferred to the new location and tech and healthcare companies have taken over the now-empty mall spaces. A friend of mine works for Recursion, who just signed a larger lease at The Gateway. The Gateway also has expanded their offerings, and now has an Urban Arts Festival, murals by local artists (including by Havoc Hendricks, below) and a flea market.
So back to the Provo mall. Idaho-born artist Havoc Hendricks’ art style can be coined as Detailed Minimalism, influenced by the natural lines found throughout nature.
His mall studio is anything but minimalist. Take a look:
Hendricks’ studio has three spaces, one of which his artist wife Laura uses. And there is a third studio tenant: a cat which stayed hidden during the entirety of its visit. Shy and skittish, this cat knows nothing of Hendricks’ other home-based cat (and we won’t tell her, either). Kitten, husband, and wife all have their own private bathroom and a wash area (Thank You to the previous ice cream selling tenant) with enormous culinary sinks. They have garbage pickup, cleaners, air conditioning, and a back-entrance super-secret network of delivery and top secret intelligences. (That last part is as yet unconfirmed.)
Studying the never-ending line patterns that nature displays through water, mountain strata, geodes, rock veins, cloud patterns, wood grain is a constant inspiration for Hendricks. His pieces often reference natural transformations of time, such a geodes and crystals. Time out of doors is essential for him. Back in the mall, he is surrounded by other artist tenants, brought together by he and his wife to create a cohort of artists and creatives. Although he keeps his studio door (a drop-down gate, with protective string in between the openings to keep kitty inside) closed, you can sense the synergy between the non-retail tenants of the mall.
The studio is organized beautifully. Hendricks says that keeping life as organic and easy as he can is important to his work and process. When you have each material on its own perfect shelf, and the messier material relegated to a different, outdoor studio, its easier to focus. For Hendricks, this is part of the process that allows the power of his emotionally minimal lifestyle to come through in the work, while acknowledging the thought and energy maintained to achieve that way of being. Keeping it simple is sometimes harder than embellishing, and Hendricks is a marvelous editor.
After a visit and learning more about each area of the studio and how it came together, we looked at the fresh work. Several pieces incorporate upcycled mall fixtures. New shapes have emerged. It’s all very, very cool. On a custom, supped-up dolly, Hendricks loaded his art and we maneuvered it to the entrance of the mall and into the Gallery MAR van. I stifled the urge to wander the shops. His work is done, and ours begins here in the gallery — so it was time to drive the beauties back to Park City.
To see the new paintings, visit us in person or view them online on Havoc Hendricks’ page.
Havoc Hendricks’ upcoming show: