A PRESSING MATTER:
Banana Factory Artist Will Hubscher Open ‘Garage’ Studio at 520 Hamilton to Support City’s Arts Scene
By Lucy Zhou, ArtsQuest Public Relations Intern
Will Hubscher’s art career truly began when his late mentor gifted him with an etching press. Hubscher had been interested in art since high school, but pushed it aside to pursue a full-time job. Years later, after being diagnosed with cancer and overcoming other obstacles, he took a step back to figure out what was most important in his life and once again found himself drawn back to art. His mentor was the one who gave him inspiration and helped him grow as an artist. With no formal training, Hubscher combined his love for photography and printmaking, as well as his eye for beauty in discarded objects, to bring pieces to life through his work.
Hubscher’s pieces are focused on dead flowers, places that are abandoned or are no longer there, the human figure and the natural world. His work has influences of nostalgia as he takes pictures of old objects and transforms them with his printing press, using vibrant colors and textures that resemble watercolors. His artistic process involves trial and error and takes multiple attempts, revisions, models and versions.
Originally based in Easton, Hubscher is now a resident artist of the Banana Factory and has moved into the Artist Garages at 520 Hamilton in Allentown, owned by City Center Investment Corp. The Artist Garages, which are leased out by ArtsQuest, are designed to provide artists with their own studio spaces. Located on the ground level of the new 520 Lofts, these garages serve as an attraction for the residential building, both for residents and the community as a whole. Hubscher’s studio is one of three spaces in the garages, which are across the street from Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center.
“It was a learning curve for both me and the Banana Factory because it’s brand new for them too – doing a satellite station like this in Allentown,” says Hubscher.
When considering the Artist Garages at 520 Hamilton and the Banana Factory, Hubscher decided on the garages because of Allentown’s increased efforts in revitalizing the community through the arts. Though Easton and Bethlehem are also part of this movement, Hubscher enjoys his studio in Allentown, which is close to other artists and opportunities. Bradbury-Sullivan alone has two galleries, where he and other artists have had exhibitions. More artists are moving into spaces in Allentown, including friends of Hubscher’s located just around the corner.
Hubscher’s studio is large enough to keep his press, artwork and supplies. Though his press is much too heavy and large to move once it’s been set up, he is able to easily transfer his art to and from shows. There is also plenty of room to lay out artwork for potential buyers or anyone who wants to view his work.
“Everyone seems to really like the space—other artists and collectors that come here—probably partially because of the way I have it set up with the racks, and I’m always moving things around,” says Hubscher. “Things are going to shows, coming back, so there’s always something new going on up on the wall. I can collapse the tables down and make more work space.”
Community members and other artists are able to come to his studio to observe while he works through the glass windows of the garage. Hubscher welcomes the community to stop by and check out his work or speak with him. His favorite spot in his studio is a section of the wall covered with personal cards and pictures. Because the garage studio doesn’t allow any pets, a picture of his dog is always in his line of sight.
“My studio was always in my home, so this is my first venture out into a public space like this. It’s wonderful having all the light coming in the glass garage doors and being able to have people come here,” says Hubscher. “It feels like I’m coming to work, I’m coming to my space.”
Two other Artist Garages are currently available for lease. Artists interested in applying for one of the spaces should submit an application HERE. Interested applicants must include a resume, artist statement and bio, as well as examples of their work. Applications and additional information are available at www.bananafactory.org.