Why Make Them So Big

Making Huge Paintings Is Exciting But The Challenges Are Just As Big

An important component of my DARKMATTER exhibition are the four extra-large paintings. When guests walk in to the expansive entryway at Creative Pinellas the two giant paintings that flank the first gallery make an immediate impact and really set the tone for the entire show. It is crucial that guest are strongly effected and that each gallery they enter is another powerful surprise.

Making these giants was tricky. My studio is not much bigger than the tarps themselves. I had to clear out pretty much everything from my studio and once I laid out the first canvas there was only a foot or so on each side for me to move around. Standing back from the painting to get a good look at it was impossible so I set a ladder at the bottom of the painting and put my paintbrush on a 12 foot pole. I made videos of the process and they are posted on my Instagram account @hackenwerth.


The Gateway  2022

144inches x 180inches acrylic, latex, oil, pigment stick, oil pencil on canvas.

It didn’t seem necessary for these paintings to be stretched. Instead I hung them with clips. This seemed like the best way to allow them to be the objects they are and honor the reality of the process and their sheer size.



The Only Perfect Place Is In Her Eyes 2022

144 inches x 180 Inches  acrylic, latex, oil, pigment stick, rust, pollen, dirt, coffee on canvas.

To prime the tarps for painting, I spend days or even weeks letting them get dirty and roughed up. This one laid outside in my backyard for a couple of weeks during February when all the oak tree pollen was falling. In the mornings I would go out and spray it with water.

It’s hard to describe the feeling I got when I was making these. Partly it was terrifying almost like jumping off a cliff. But also it was such an adventure and so exciting that I felt like Vasco da Gama sailing around The Cape of Good Hope.

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