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Welcome to Rob Hessler's world

“I’m not about ‘get a bigger piece of the pie,’ I’m about making the pie bigger”

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GET LOST in a whole new world this week.

Rob Hessler’s exhibition at the Cultural Arts Gallery, “(the other side of the) Worlds Collide,” is an extension of three other exhibitions focused on Hessler’s imaginary world.

Part one of the series focuses on events, part two is places, and part three is concepts and ideas. The fourth part of the series is an alternate universe where those events, places, and ideas are flipped.

“The other side of the world is an alternate universe where the people, places, ideas and events of our world are depicted by a combination of their physical features and the impact they have on us in the past, present and future,” explains Hessler. “Within this world, there’s a character called the One in the Duck Feather Cloak.”

The character, a non-gendered creature, travels through the worlds and is the only sentient being.

“It observes what’s happening and communicates back to us in our world those people, places, events and concepts. The idea of it is the drawings you see is what the One in the Duck Feather Cloak is seeing,” says Hessler. Well, now I have our world and the alternative universe crashing together, and the barrier between them is breaking apart. There’s leakage in both directions—some of the metaphors and ideas are crossing each other.”

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Why duck feathers? As Hessler explains, it has to do with the phrase “water off a duck’s back.” The One in the Duck Feather Cloak observes the worlds without emotion or objective.

“Even though I have strong viewpoints about everything in life,” laughs Hessler, “when I present the pieces I try to put myself in the duck feather cloak and imagine what an objective viewer would see.”

The opening reception for the exhibition includes a panel discussion, “The Impact of Art on the Community,” on Sep. 8. The panel consists of Deep Center Executive Director Dare Dukes, Brenau University Gallery Director Nichole Rawlings, hip-hop artists Clay Hodges, and Hessler himself. WSAV’s Media Content Producer Kris Hummer will act as the moderator.

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“Some of the things we’ll focus on are incidents where we can very obviously point out that whatever art form any of us are involved in has had a significant impact on the world around us in one way or another,” says Hessler.

“I look at how important art is in the community. There are some question marks now about the way that City Council and the City Manager are dealing with the arts but to me, it’s a critical importance. It’s easy to cut art funding. It’s easy to say, this isn’t important because it isn’t a street. But there is evidence about how [art] prevents and reduces crime.”

For the opening reception, Hessler created community bags that will be given to the first 100 people. The bags are filled with local goods by organizations and businesses whose work Hessler admires.

“The idea for the community bag is not just to bring attention to these groups who are doing good things, but to act as a creative networking event where people from these organizations will come and get to meet each other and get to know each other,” Hessler explains.

“In addition to being an artist, I’m an activist here in town and I go to these various functions, and there’s a lot of the same people trying to do the same thing but they’re not necessarily connected.

“I’m not about ‘get a bigger piece of the pie,’ I’m about making the pie bigger. If we work together, then everybody benefits, and the community benefits.”

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