German-born Henning Haupt wears different hats. He’s a professor of architectural design and also an award-winning artist. Henning creates his art in a large, Fort Lauderdale studio filled with paintings and drawings in progress. His works range from small drawings and large canvases to room-sized installations and outdoor murals. We love the qualities of line and atmospheric color in his works! Henning just returned from a residency at the prestigious Anderson Ranch Art Center, where he spent two and a half months creating and experimenting in the studio and enjoying every minute of it.
Where were you born and how long have you been in Florida?
I was born in a small town just north of Hamburg, Germany and soon I knew I had to move. After studying in various places, two of which are in the US, I spent many years in Berlin teaching and working in my architectural/painting studio. In 2008 I got offered to teach architectural design at Florida Atlantic University and so I moved and set up my studio in Fort Lauderdale.
You have been very prolific lately. Can you describe your residency at Anderson Ranch and its effect on your work?
My practice is grounded in an inquiry of materials and processes. Anderson Ranch is a “maker’s paradise.” I worked intensely for 10 weeks from morning to night. Besides this, having discussions with fellow residents, studio coordinators and visiting critics was crucial. The continuous process of making and questioning moved me and my work to a more specific, personal way of painting and making.
How does your architecture background enter your art work?
My architectural education set the ground for the way I work. As it is for all of us, my intuition is coded by experiences and the overall cultural context I come from and work in. For me, this includes the visual means of proportions, lines, colors, forms, spaces and materials, but also their corporeal and ontic qualities. It was during my postgraduate studies in the US, at Cranbrook Academy of Art, that I realized how much these systems are ingrained in my making. Today I challenge these architectural tools with attitudes and specific strategies related to my process of making.
How do you choose the colors for your drawings and paintings?
Colors have been a focus of my practical and theoretical research for years. The longer I teach and work with color, the less I feel that I have to think about color choices. Appreciating that colors are subjective and emotional, I sense that “my” colors became more and more relevant to the subject matter in the work.
Each successful project in color has to develop its own story of reasoning. Training, experience and sensitivity to color are good guides for avoiding obvious or plain solutions. I become deranged by simplified, generic color choices that are support conventions and commercial styles. Instead, we can support meaningful design ideas through the use of color that relates to an individual or to a collective subtropical, Floridian identity.
What are some things you love about living and working in South Florida?
The beach, the warmth and the casualness that go along with the American lifestyle in South Florida is what I like. Fort Lauderdale was inviting to me, made it easy to live and to focus on my studio work.
More painting, more making and less boundaries.