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Karl X Hauser

"Humor (is) the process that allows one to brush reality aside when it gets too distressing"—Andre Breton

Simultaneously figurative and expressionistic, Hauser's work weaves together the humorous and the horrific in sculptures comprised of cast metals and found elements. 

"At least I'm housebroken" —The Dude in The Big Lebowski

drawing has always been a large element in my life. all I really need is a number two pencil and a bit of paper - the potential for such a big return on such a small investment.

my sculpture comes about as a result of the drawing. the drawings are rarely prefatory or studies for sculptures, but serve a deeper purpose in the sense that drawing informs so much of how I think about sculpture. drawing is a way that generates ideas. the process carries over into the making of sculpture. often, it feels as if sculpting is drawing in three dimensions. using found materials - cardbored and styrofoam - I can make things and dismiss them with little regard for the investment in the material itself.

Where do you dream of going? 

it would be lovely to revisit Amsterdam, Berlin or Reykjavik.

What artists influenced your work? 

Bob Ross, Penelope Rosemont, Billy Childish, H.C.Westerman, Leonora Carrington, Paul Klee, Jean Dubuffet, William S. Burroughs, Patti Smith, Charles Bukowski, Leonor Fini, Toyen

Growing up, the art I was exposed to was mostly through watching my mother paint. she was largely self-taught and encouraged me to draw. she would bring home books from the art supply store on how to draw. it wasn't until high school that I really started to go to museums and study art history. after I had been out of high school for a year or two I knew I needed more to advance than books and trips to museums.

What was one of the best experiences of your life?

Seeing a Mark Rothko painting at the Art institute of Chicago when I was in high school. I had read about his suicide and immediately sought out reproductions of his artworks in any form I could. the reproductions did nothing to prepare me for how deeply moving standing in front of his work was.


Karl x Hauser was born in Michigan City, on a small farm in northwest Indiana. He played in the dirt, drew pictures, and learned to swim in Lake Michigan. His mother, a self taught artist who invented and painted “blue roses”, encouraged him to draw as it didn’t have the messy potential of paint.

Later, he worked for the railroad as a gandy dancer (track laborer) in order to save money for art school. He attended the Herron School of Art in Indianapolis where he studied sculpture, learned to make neon signs, and was first exposed to video art. He received his MFA in video and performance art from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1981.

His work has included drawing, watercolor, digital collage, and sculpture. His sculptures involve a wide range of materials including styrofoam, cardboard, wire, ceramic, found objects, etc., either used directly or as patterns for molds.

Siimultaneously figurative and expressionistic, his work weaves together the humorous and the horrific.

Karl X Hauser lives and works in San Mateo, California