Creative Risk-taking with Kevin Hogan

By Susan Jedrzejewski

Freedom, exploration, and experimentation are key themes in the studio practice of Asheville-based alumnus artist Kevin Hogan. From printmaking and painting, to installation and sculpture, he has worked in a variety of mediums throughout his career. His journey from one material to the next is cyclical, and reflects his ability to learn and grow as an artist. 

This confidence to transform has developed over time, but started when Hogan realized the value of risk when he and his parents immigrated to the United States when he was eleven. 

Kevin Hogan, photographed by Leon Alesi. Photo courtesy of Mountain Xpress.

For more than a decade, Hogan has been an Innovation Institute artist facilitator and has provided insights into his creative process, encouragement, and observations during various open enrollment and custom programs for groups. 

Recently, Hogan worked with our Innovation Institute team on a day-long program about risk and control (or lack thereof). The session was part of the Creative + Connected Charlotte initiative during which participants were introduced to the screen printing process. Each had a chance to roll up their sleeves, put on an apron, and pull a squeegee across a screen to make a work of art. For some it was fun, for others it was tough, but for everyone it was an exciting and creative hands-on experience. 

Creative + Connected Charlotte participants screenprinting during a recent session.

While participants were introduced to a step-by-step process for pulling the perfect print, Hogan encouraged the group not to dwell on the technical instructions and to learn by doing. In jumping into a new process feet first, there was not an expectation that each print needed to or would be perfect. “Success is stumbling from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm” is something Winston Churchill once said, and it’s this mentality that Hogan instilled during the program. 

At the end of the session, participants took home more than a new portfolio of works on paper. They also took with them valuable personal experiences of being challenged or energized.  

Kevin’s encouragement helped the group to explore, experiment, and get out of their comfort zone. In doing so, key insights into the creative process were also an outcome: gaining confidence to embark on a journey even when the outcome is unknown; the value of leaving your ego out of it; and understating that you do not need to be an expert to create something people find appealing. 

It all just takes a little bit of risk.

Learn more about Kevin Hogan and the Innovation Institute.