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Leo Hodson ’20 on His Detroit Experience

The double major in Painting/Drawing and Art History shares how his experience in Detroit shifted his perspective on the power of art to have community impact.

PC: Briefly describe your art practice and/or attach your artist’s statement.

LH: Lately, I’ve been interested in the idea of chance and the unexpected. For my last project I made a series of etchings where the plate would become corroded and the image would become obscured. The unknown result is exciting to me. It makes me feel like it’s not in my control, which is something that interests me.

PC: What drew you to participate in the Detroit project?

LH: One of my friends went on the Detroit trip in 2016 and said it was a good experience. I had never been to Detroit and am interested in how art intersects with different disciplines. Like Urban Renewal. It wasn’t until after the trip that I became really interested in community and the impact art can have in a community.

PC: What role did you play on the project/what piece of the project did you work on?

LH: I helped assemble a deck to place the riad on. There were a lot of things I had to take into account like the unevenness of the land and making sure that it was level. I had never built a structure like this before. I could not have done it on my own, so I had others working with me and we all were figuring out what was working and when something wasn’t working.

PC: How do you feel it had an impact both on your art practice and on your personal perspective?

LH: Although I major in painting, and painting is more of an isolated practice, I’m interested in the way people work together to achieve a goal. I spent most of the fall 2017 semester in the printmaking studio, and was surrounded by my friends working around me so it felt very communal and we would all help each other out. The Detroit trip made me realize what art can be—it doesn’t necessarily have to be an art object, but it could be an act towards something.

PC: What did you find the most rewarding about the project?

LH: It was nice to see all the people that came out to the event we set up, after the work we did to prepare for it.