Introducing our Big Brain 2012 Finalists.
Andrew Hadle's studio hasn't been this clean in months.
The artist, 30, is in his final semester of his master's of fine art at ASU. He still has a few weeks until the semester is over, and his schedule has slowed down a bit since his well-received master's thesis exhibition at Harry Wood Gallery in late January.
The Kansas native moved to Phoenix three years ago for school, and between teaching a few undergraduate classes and getting out for a jog, he says he's been busy creating work and figuring out where to store it.
Hadle sits in an old desk chair in front of his laptop. He's not afraid to admit he's a little obsessed with observing popular culture and jokes about the importance of being "one with the web."
His cartoon and pop culture influences are obvious -- a few of his comics hang behind him, a quilt he's sewn from potato chip bags hangs on the opposite wall, and something furry is creeping out of a bag on a shelf far above his head -- but his commentary is more subtle.
He says his thesis show, titled 1000%, was a reaction to over-stimulation in current culture. He pulls a bottle of Advil out of his desk drawer. "See?" he says. "It's always 10 percent more this, or 20 percent more that. There's extra strength, maximum strength ... Everything's constantly one-upping the other. There's no standard -- no normal anymore."
His exhibition filled the gallery with shrines to celebrities, soda pop, and Axe Body Wash. He created and displayed hi-speed videos using his own footage and borrowed commercial clips that looped on television screens around the gallery. A small, plastic bag titled "sack lunch" was tacked to the wall with an oxycodone and an adderall.
It's ephemeral work, he says, for an ephemeral cultural.
Now that the show is down and he's unofficially done with his own schoolwork, Hadle's busy taking inventory of his materials, past projects, and current ideas. He's taking pictures of his slime-covered, sculpted action figures and his three-foot yeti that were featured in Scottsdale's now-defunct Squeeze gallery in 2010.
He's archiving videos on his laptop and scanning the cartoon characters he's painted on Apple iMac boxes. What's left over, he says, he'll give to friends or chuck.
Once he's out of the studio and has walked across the stage to get his diploma, Hadle says he'd like to land a full-time teaching gig -- but not before he moves all of his paints, glues, fabrics, furs, boards, foams, and tools back into his place and makes a total mess.
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