Summer Arts Scene is on stands now and it’s packed with awesome arts and culture events on throughout Whistler and the Sea to Sky this season.
Grab your free copy at the Maury Young Arts Centre and other cool cultural spots and businesses throughout the community, and check out “Iced Eagle” by Tony Hasenkrug of Tony’s Tie dyes featured on the front cover.
Tony specializes in up-cycled, one-of-kind, handmade, tie dyed tapestries, clothing and wall hangings. Using a variety of techniques, he creates designs that feature animals, shibori, sacred geometric patterns, kaleidoscopes, symbols and logos.
We got a chance to chat with Tony to find out more about his art, creative process and what inspires him.
Can you tell us a bit about Tony Hasenkrug, the artist?
Hmm… The artist in me didn’t really appear until late in life. It was my wife Tammra who really got the artistic fire burning inside me. Even though I started tie dyeing in my teens and through my 20’s, it wasn’t until she introduced me to sacred geometry, mandalas and yantras, that I recognized what I was tapping into years earlier. I dove deep into drawing mandalas. After a few years of drawing and painting sacred geometry, we decided to give tie dye a try again for something fun and creative to do. That’s when it really all started.
Who or what has been the biggest influence to you in terms of your work?
That’s easy… My wife Tammra!
What drew you to tie dye in particular? How did you learn how to do it?
Tie dye was one of those things back in the day part of the culture of being a “Dead Head” – someone who is a big fan of the band The Grateful Dead. I would see people wearing tie dye shirts and tapestries at the Grateful Dead shows and was inspired to try it.
It was just for fun at first, but everyone wanted a shirt or a tapestry to hang on their ceiling. Learning in the 80’s was much different than now.
I was self-taught from the beginning. It wasn’t until 6 years ago when I found some insights on social media and YouTube videos that really opened my eyes to the art and what is possible!
What is your favourite thing about creating your art?
The colours, the details in the all the different techniques, the wait and finally the surprise of the reveal. I also love seeing people light up and react to my pieces.
What materials or techniques do you prefer to use when creating?
Cotton, bamboo and rayon are my favorites to dye. My favorite technique would be the iced dye. The way the colours split and blend is always interesting and you never really know what the final outcome will be. It feels much more free-flowing to me.
Can you tell us an interesting fact that people may not know about you?
That I’ve had a “sideways addiction” for 40 years. Ha! Which means I’ve been on a skateboard, snowboard, surfboard or kiteboard and am still very passionate about kiteboarding “strapless” on both water and snow. I’ve also loved golf for many years and follow the sport. I’ve also been a professional painter in the trades for 30 years.
Do you have any tips for artists and tie dye enthusiast who are just starting out?
Don’t be afraid to fail and try new things!
Out of all of your work, what made you choose “Iced Eagle” as your Arts Scene submission?
I chose the Eagle because I feel it is a powerful image! The way the l wings stretch out and the feeling of flight running through the blue background. I love the contrast and the blending of colours.
After experimenting with iced dyeing a few Owls and then a Red Tailed Hawk, it was time to pay homage to the Eagle. Living in Squamish and so close to the river, we see many eagles in the winter months. I think they are such a majestic, fierce and beautiful bird. I felt it best represented my art and where I live.
Could recommend some other artists’ Instagram feeds for people to check out?
There are so many amazing and talented Tie Dye artists and many are so open to sharing the craft.
On YouTube ‘Mr. Tiedye’ is my go to for mixing, technical folds and overall basic knowledge of Tie Dye.
@courtenaytiedye – Courtenay Pollock is one of the best of the best, specializes in big stage backdrop tapestries.
@tie_dyed_twice – Micheal Martelli incorporates a beautiful pallet of colours and designs.
@surrealpencil – Kurt Wallace is an amazing human who shared a new (old) technique called “irrigation dye” (aka hot water immersion) to the entire Tie Dye community.
@tribeties – Paul Kenney is the creator of The Kenney Design, a beautiful technique that boggles my mind.
@pushrainbows – You won’t see anything like Josh Shep’s work anywhere… Top shelf!
I could go on and on but these are definitely some of my top faves who I have had the honour to speak with directly or have been in gallery shows with.
Thank you to American Friends of Whistler for supporting our Arts Scene publication and Arts Whistler’s creative community!