|Little Rock artist Robyn Horn|
Little Rock artist Robyn Horn can certainly empathize with art students who are just starting out.
As an art student at Hendrix College, Horn recalls how she sometimes looked at a blank canvas, and wondered what to paint.
"I hadn't looked at enough art at that time to know what I liked. I didn't have an aesthetic," says Horn, who will be the featured artist at the Pulaski Technical College Foundation's Business of Art event on March 15.
That was 28 years ago, and today Horn is an accomplished sculptor whose woodwork can be found in museums and galleries all over the United States.
One of her pieces was recently installed for permanent display at the Crystal Bridges Museum of Art in Bentonville, which opened in November 2011. The sculpture, titled "Already Set in Motion," is a 10-foot vertical wood piece dyed black. Horne watched as a crane lowered the 2,000-pound piece onto its permanent site.
Horn carved the sculpture for a single piece of redwood, though her work presents the illusion of being assembled from many separate pieces. Horn uses the same concept, on a smaller scale, in her most recent series of "slipping" stones.
"It appears to be out of balance, as if it will tip over, when it's actually deceptively sturdy," she said.
She also has a 10-feet-wide piece titled "Landslide" that is part of the Delta Exhibit at the Arkansas Arts Center, where several of her pieces are also on permanent display.
Horn didn't always have an artist calling.
"This is something that just kind of happened to me," she says. "I never thought I'd be an artist. It's not something that I anticipated being such a major part of my life. But it is."
After graduating from Hendrix College, Horn moved to Little Rock and worked several years in a typesetting house before joining Arkansas Parks and Tourism where she worked seven years as chief photographer.
The year 1984 marked a turning point for her. Her brother-in-law, Sam, a woodworker, had just returned from the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Gatlingburg, Tenn., where he had taken a class with David Ellsworth, a woodturner. Horn tried her woodturning and was immediately hooked. She began making sculptural rounds and then began working on a series of deodies and later millstones.
Now at any given time she has at least half a dozen projects in the works in the studio she shares with her husband, John, a letterpress artist.
"I've got more ideas than pieces I'll ever be able to make," she says.
More recently, Horne began painting in acrylics.
"The progress I made with my woodwork in 25 years was a lot slower than the progress I'm making with the painting," she said. "At this point, I've already developed an aesthetic that I didn't have before, and so I'm a little surer of myself and more experimental with materials and trying to find out how they work."
Horn has also donated two pieces of her work - a wood sculpture of slipping stones and an acrylic painting - both of which will be auctioned during the Business of Art event this month.