Steve Hastings knows the science of economics and is learning the nuances of art, the latter of which was recently shown at the Oxford Arts Alliance’s “University of Delaware: Past and Present” where Hastings had two pieces on display.
Hastings, professor and associate chair in the Department of Applied Economics and Statistics, had his passion for sculpting and welding stoked back in 2007 when he took a welding class in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and then continued on by taking a week long workshop with a prominent metal sculpture named Stan Smokler in 2008.
One of the pieces that was on display at the Oxford Arts Alliance is titled “Protection” and Hastings explained he made the piece while taking an independent study at UD in the fall of 2012 with David Meyer, associate professor of art.
As part of an assignment, Hastings had to build a 3-dimensional object that had a frame and had a skin attached to the frame. Hastings explained that if you were to flip the piece over, “You’ll see there’s a frame in there that I built out of straps, and small strips of wood” and on the outside of “Protection” are “pieces of ply wood that have been stacked together, sliced and then attached to that frame.”
The resulting piece turned out to be “Protection” and Hastings said that everyone seems to have their own interpretation about the piece.
“My original idea was a tortoise shell but several people have seen this, and some people have said it’s a shield, some people have said a biking helmet, some people have said that it could be conceived as a tribal mask of some kind. So, it’s kind of what you see in it. My idea was very different than what other people have seen.”
Hastings said that the piece took between 25-30 hours to complete and was his first time working with wood for a sculpture.
Of the connection between art and economics, Hastings said, “They cross over some. I would argue that economics is a rigorous discipline, mathematical, and structured–where art is more subjective. And so, that may be part of what I like about it, that it’s so different from what I do every day and what I teach in my classes.”
Hastings especially likes working with metal, and he said that his family and his upbringing on a farm in Sussex County–where he watched his father make or fix things on the farm as needed–inspire his art.
“I think it all goes back to growing up on this farm in Sussex County and I have a piece out in the yard that is all old farm wheels that kind of represent different eras in our family farm. I use old tools a lot to make garden signs and those kinds of things so I think it all goes back to my farm upbringing basically.”
Article by Adam Thomas
Photo by Danielle Quigley