Paul Adams Hawkins, 1941-2013 now in spirit, ascended from this world peacefully in the light of the harvest moon on September 19th, 2013 at the age of 72.
An artist, master carver, creator, original thinker, Paul graced the lives of everyone who knew him with endless humor and deep insight into life on Earth. Ever engaged with his creative process and deeply committed to being a self-directed individual he, and his partner in all ways Susan Zalkind, have been pioneers of American Stone Carving. In more than 40 years he has created countless works of beauty collected by thousand of people. His life was a celebration of Alabaster, of stone, of wood, of gems, of fossils and of the desert beauty from which they emerge. Of the many forms he explored, some of the most powerful and personal were his desert scenes, house gods, large bowls, and spirit weapons. At the time of his passing he was 29 pieces in to his 'Nine Billion Faces of God' series.
Paul was born in the Green Granite mountains of Vermont. A prolific reader and day dreamer, at the age of six he knew who he was and what he wanted to do with his life. He ran kicking and screaming from New England, joining the army at 17. He was trained as a photographer in Korea and made his way to Southern California in the 60's. He worked as a photographer and raised two daughters, Margot and Milaka. He was active in the anti-war movement and with the California Peace and Freedom Party. During Vietnam he ran the southernmost safe house for draftees along the underground railroad, paddling young men across the Tijuana Slew into Mexico in his canoe during the night.
At the age of 33 he quit his last job, vowing to do his own work and live his life as autonomously as possible. He had taken sculpture classes on the GI Bill and knew where to find Alabaster. His father had made bowls at a wood mill in Vermont, and that seemed like a good place to start. He spent the next years living in his truck with his daughters, traveling from hotspring to hotspring, carving stone bowls and pot pipes.
When he met Susan selling at the Leucadia Flea Market, it all changed. They started carving together and a game of aesthetic leapfrog was started. For 37 years they lived their lives together as professional artists, 35 years in the VerdeValley of Arizona. They had two children, Amber Serene and Zaliah Kahlil, multiple dogs and cats and spent their lives traveling to beautiful places and selling their work across the country.
Paul Hawkins Artistic Statement
I was raised in the green granite mountains of Vermont. One of my early memories is of my family picking blueberries on the slopes of an abandoned marble quarry. The only thing I have left of those early years is a small piece of white Vermont marble with my initials carved in it. Then there was the small oil painting set my aunt Dorothy gave me for my seventh birthday. Clearly by the time I was seven or eight I knew who I was and what I was about. Then came the great distraction of compulsory education and before I knew it, I was thirty-three and far removed from the person I knew I was.
With that realization I set about finding my own work. In the mid sixties in California I was attending a Junior College on the G.I. Bill and worked some Alabaster in a sculpture class and brushed against my original passion. What was more important was that I knew where to find some, which I did, and brought it back to the Northern California hot springs where I was trying to soak my attitude away. My father, at one point, made wooden bowls at the Weston bowl mill in Vermont, so I made bowls. It was a good start. For the next three years I lived in my truck, traveling north in the summer, south in the winter, carving Alabaster, searching for Alabaster and learning how to sell what I made. Then I met Susan and it all changed. We became creative partners, performing an aesthetic leapfrog into a hundred different forms that we're still working on in the series.
Stone speaks. As a child, I was fascinated with the deep grooves running across hundreds of feet of granite slope near my home, glacial gouges carving an elemental material. I think of myself more as a stone carver than a sculptor. I enjoy celebrating the material, its form, color, figure, surface. As an American, I find my aesthetics wrapped up in the same package with functionality. I think that taking the stone carving off its pedestal and bringing it into peoples' lives where it can be used and enjoyed, helps break the elite art paradigm we have all been so burdened with.
Although the core of my work is utilitarian, several series that I'm involved with are representational. Since I live in Arizona where the bones of the earth are visible everywhere, its only natural that I carve them in stone. They are quite complex forms, carved separately as mountains, boulders, cracks and crevasses, desert gardens with cacti and gem stone flowers. The sculptures are then joined together to form desert landscapes that are four feet or more across.
The Great Doodley Squats, Spirit Beings in the tradition of Chinese house gods, joss (Good luck) dogs that keep whatever you need kept out, out. This series also becomes upon its completion, a chess set, with the pawns topping out at three feet and the royals rising to over six feet. If I'm lucky I'll be able to complete two complete sets of chess sets during my lifetime.
Presently I am working on developing a set of hand tools. A whole alabaster carving kit to ignite the 21st Century School of Alabaster Carving. Called (ACE) "Alabaster Carving Experience". Starting kit has three pieces of stone and hand tools. We are taking into the schools of America, it's the perfect material, paradigm tool for integrating arts education, taken into differently disciplines, paleontology, archeology, trans-discipline. There is no other material currently employed in schools that is subtractive in nature (instead of additive). It teaches kids the ability to make irrevocable decisions and shares a profound truth with them "Please don't take anything away that you want to keep."
Honoring my commitment never to work for anyone and to live my life as autonomously as possible, my main income comes from doing art and craft shows. Galleries too have represented our work over the years. It has been my good fortune to be amongst the first generation of artists who were easily able to make a living because of the emergence of art and craft fairs. I live in Arizona with my wife who is my creative partner in all ways. Together, with our 2 children, we have created a life devoted to art and appreciation for our own individual uniqueness. Our philosophy shows up in every work of art we create and share with the public.