Robert James Haskell is a sculptor and multidisciplinary artist from Bar Harbor, Maine. His work features bizarre creatures and fantastical forms fabricated by the subconscious mind. He gives shape to his concepts with a wide variety of disciplines, from printmaking and drawing, to kinetic sculpture and video.
Haskell received a BFA in sculpture from The University of the Arts in Philadelphia in 2014. His formal training also includes study at The Oxbow School in Napa, CA; The Maine College of Art in Portland, ME; and The Haystack Mountain School of Craft in Deer Isle, ME. He currently teaches at the ArtWaves Community Art Center in Bar Harbor, and shows his work at KōT Contemporary Craft in Ellsworth, ME; Artemis Gallery in Northeast Harbor, ME; and at galleries nationally. His public sculpture work can be found at the Davistown Museum Sculpture Garden in Bar Harbor, ME; and on the campus of Southern Maine Community College.
I take images from unprocessed thoughts and feelings and give them physical form in a variety of media. The images that come out are often jarring and confusing. They can be sexual, dark, or violent, but also humorous and whimsical at the same time. I exercise very loose control over the work so I end up as surprised as someone who is viewing the piece for the first time. I'm addicted to that novelty in my work. I'm constantly changing media and style seeking the rush that comes from creating something new, something I couldn’t have preconceived of. Because of my working process, I sometimes forgo specified narratives and metaphors in favor of strong gut level reactions that can be further explained and examined by viewers individually.
My public sculpture work is a cross between fine art and ecological intervention. I endeavor to keep these sculptures full of emotion and excitement while also enabling them to perform beneficial ecological functions. I accomplish this by incorporating functional habitat for plants and animals in to the sculptures. The interactions these pieces have with the living systems around them add layers of meaning to the work, and often changes the physical form of the work itself through natural processes. I want these pieces to have a tangible positive impact in the world by providing compact habitat spaces to the ecologically barren man-made environments we live in.