Deep in the Maine woods, not far from the ocean you will find Andreas von huene outside in the sunshine surrounded by huge pieces of stone in every shape, form, and color. The buzz from his saw and hammering of granite can be heard through the trees amidst the chattering of birds. His sculptures are uniquely Maine and impressive in their details and thoughtful shapes, and are installed everywhere from Maine schools, libraries, private residences, and out of country sites. His sweet house which he shares with his family sits next to his impressively sized and designed workshop, keeping everything he needs just within reach. He owns a number of antique autos which are all projects he works on in his spare time, and rescues air compressors and tractors from a junk pile to fix and use for his work. His mechanical skills are as genius as his sculpting talents. Andreas graciously opened up his studio for us. Thank you Andreas!
If you had to describer the type of work you do in a few sentences, what would you say?
I strive to create art that comes alive. I want my medium itself to almost breathe life. I enjoy challenging myself to create different levels of imagination within each individual work. While I am continuously delighted to find new materials and skills to incorporate into my art practice, it is the wide range of projects and processes that will always serve as my most grand adventure.
How did you get started in this type of work?
I grew up in my father's musical instrument workshop and attended his concerts in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Years later, my master's thesis in landscape bridges opened the door to public art competitions which led to gallery shows.
Tell me a little bit about your studio and how it came to be?
Our house was about to become too small to hold a growing family and studio just as I was enjoying a run of commissions. I had saved up enough to bring power to our homestead, and was able to secure a mortgage. I wanted to have natural light in the studio so I aligned the external and internal windows to cross the rooms with it. Sweat equity and help from friends and family closed it in such that it is a big toolbox-I work outside!
You work inside and outside. How does the Maine weather affect your ability to do this?
The Maine light is so special, it more than compensates for the cold and wet seasons. Every beautiful Maine day is a gift. I coordinate my activity with the weather. Really cold is for heavy work outdoors and office work indoors. Wet weather is for either office work or wet-polishing stone. Snow is for cleaning up and tool repair.
How long did it take you to acquire all of the tools necessary for your line of work?
Each new project usually has some new tooling that will make it efficient to produce. Better than having a lot of tools is having friends and colleagues you can hire. I've been at it for 33 years and still can't resist a tool that will save me work and/or make for a better project.
Has sculpture always been so mechanical, or did you start out with more manual tools?
My first sculptures were in clay-a castle tower and a canoe-when I was 9-and in the hospital with a broken leg. A very nice lady brought me art supplies to help e throughout the ordeal and I might have had popsicle sticks as tools then. I grew up with lathes and drill presses and band saws so I feel as facile with them as with chisels and hammers. The most important tool is oneself and it takes time to develop one's skills and then also to forma relationship with a tool to the point where one is dancing with it.
How has your work changed over the years?
I enjoy such a variety of projects, my work is always changing. I do like to go further than I have before in any one direction: i.e. more intricate here, less intricate there, bolder here, more thoughtful there. The consistent aspect is that I strive to challenge myself.
How do you market yourself?
I say yes-whether to curators organizing a show, or to a patron hoping to commission something, or to an architect looking for a fountain. Because I create over a wide range, it is difficult to offer brand identity-except that in a sense, I am a brand. I ought to be using social media and a web site and…but the sculpture doesn't get carved unless the chisel hits the rock.
Where do you typically show your work?
My work can be seen in Gleason Fine Art Gallery, June LaCombe Sculpture, Centre St. Arts Gallery, Harbor Square Gallery, The Turtle Gallery, Viles Arboretum, The Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, Mid Coast Hospital, Acadia Hospital, Maine Maritime Museum, and my public art is in schools and libraries. There is even some at my studio.
Thank you Andreas! Find his website here!