Madison’s vibrant art community made the city an attractive place for Kent Hutchison to launch his career. But now, it’s the very thing that poses a challenge. “It’s tough to find a place to show art here…because of the competition,” he explains.
After earning a B.A. in art and biology from University of Wisconsin-Steven’s Point, the 25-year-old Green Bay native moved to Madison with his wife in 2007. Since then, Kent has pursued his art career full time—and has been fortunate in finding a supportive community in the area. “I’ve met people who have taught me about selling art. I am learning about living in a fast-paced art community.”
Kent bikes two miles to his workshop each morning—a converted garage at his aunt’s house. When he’s working on a major project, he spends the entire day fabricating metal, with just a brief lunch break. There’s more variety on the days he’s working on smaller projects. “I stretch canvases in the morning, paint, and let them dry while I do other stuff,” he says.
Kent’s core focus lately is on creating large-scale metal sculptures for public installations. Most recently is Seabird, is a 10-foot-long steel sculpture, suspended 12 feet from the ground with four independently-moving parts that stir with the wind.
Selling art is his biggest challenge. With initial success selling pieces at art fairs and to private patrons, Kent still looks for opportunities in this competitive market. “I have been working to get my name out,” he says. “This is not as easy as I thought it would be!” To help make ends meet, Kent works two side jobs: occasional landscaping and working at a local bike shop. “My wife Amanda is very supportive and I am very lucky,” says Kent. “I do art full-time and it makes me happy, but it doesn’t bring in steady cash flow. When I worry, Amanda tells me to do what makes me happy.”
Right now, Kent sees more large-scale public sculptures in his future, though his focus is always a work in progress. “I love creating. I started with landscaping and then moved to sculptures. It could mutate into something new,” he muses. “But I’d love to continue doing art full time.”