Artisan Interviews with Joe Hausch Vitality Fine Art Show “Creating Life Pathways” Event at Kradwell in Tosa

What an interesting interview with Joe Hausch his work is lively and expressive,  a painter and designer Artisan. Joe  will be joining us for the Vitality Fine Art Fair “Creating Life Pathways”, a community event for the whole family. May 21st at 1220 Dewy Ave, the Aurora Center, we will be just outside the Kradwell Leaning Gardens, come join us.

Creation of Joe Hausch

First off – can we have a little background information on you – Where you live? (if you don’t mind answering)

I was born in Milwaukee, moved to Wauwatosa in 1970 with my parents, I lived there until about ’84, moved to Elm Grove, back to Milwaukee and now live in the Franklin, Muskego, Hales Corners area. I really enjoy all aspects of this community and living in a constantly changing environment. We may see a summer this year, or not. But the seasons keep it interesting.

I went to Pius XI High School and graduated in 1979. Went on to UW-Milwaukee to study Fine Art, then transferred to the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD) in ’81 and declared a Graphic Design major and graduated in ’84. I worked for a firm called DesignGroup in ’83-’86. Started a multi-disciplined Graphic/Product Design firm called H2D (Haas Hausch Design) in ’86. Then I left to form my own firm Hausch Design Agency in 2002. I am married and have two children that keep me plenty busy when I’m not creating, painting, playing guitar or drums or just chillin’ to one of my thousands of records or CD’s.

What first drew you to Art?

No pun intended – I understand. I’ve been creating since I was a small child. I guess my mother was raising me as a single parent in the sixties and she was a great influence. I’m sure she was incredibly busy and I think she really just got me the materials to work. I remember her painting and drawing horses and she would have some instructional books on how to draw different animals. We were lucky enough to have a TV and I know I had some time to watch before she got home after school, I was influenced by shows then like “The Rat Patrol”, “Flipper” and “Batman” of course – and I remember drawing him, the Batmobile and Robin quite a bit. G.I. Joe and a lot of tanks were a favorite subject matter as well. People and my family were all so supportive. They used to tell me, you were barely 4 and you would draw antennas on the roofs of houses, shutters, shingles, keyholes, doorknobs…you were so into the details. I ran into someone who remembered me back from third grade when I attended St. Rita’s on Milwaukee’s east side. She said to me after about 35 years, “I remember you had the neatest, tiny printing and hand writing”.

How long ago was that?

After my Mom married my father, we moved to Wauwatosa and I went to St. Bernard’s. I remember I entered a “draw your dad” contest at Drew’s Variety Store in ’73. I was 12 and I did a pen and ink portrait of my dad and I won the contest. That was a pretty good start. I still have the drawing. We were building a cottage in northern Wisconsin and we would go up for much of the summers and many weekends. There was a local watering hole in Woodboro, WI where everyone would get together to commiserate and tell stories. My dad was already a professional at both. He would turn to me while I was sitting there with my Coke and say “draw that guy over there”. I would get a napkin and pen from the bartender and start sketching. Then when I was done, my dad would proudly take the work and say, “look at that, I think the kid captured you pretty well”. I guess then many folks would hand me a few dollars and tell me how they loved it and how talented I was. What great encouragement it was. I guess I was professional at that point.

How would you describe your medium?

My mediums are mixed. Mostly my works are kind of “paintures”. Part painting, part sculpture. Sorry, I just made that up and it’s kind of dumb. Other objects from my past or that particular day sometimes find their way into my pieces. I collected stamps as a child and I’ve always enjoyed the old time engraving. I think because of my design background and love of typography, I like adding letterforms, words and handwriting that is usually nearly illegible. There are usually at least 5 stories behind each work.

What does it feel like to create?

Free. Though sometimes it hurts and makes me think way too much. I used to enjoy doing portraits so much. But I probably never really took them far enough, for instance I probably never really captured some of the emotions of the person. They were just pictures. Now it seems like most of my work is about many or more inner moments, feelings and thoughts and how they are affected and/or effected by the real world. Some things start out as portraits, or particular people, or figures; but in the end it’s certainly sometimes very hard to see them.

What motivates you?


Me. Caffeine. A swift kick in the…I don’t know, I think that’s a trick question.

Bad art.


What inspires you?


Big blank spaces.

Under utilized popular public venues.

Bad art. I suppose I shouldn’t say that – some of mine is a stretch for sure.

How about seeing great art. Watching the creative process. I love painting live like at the Open Canvas / MIAD fundraising events here in Milwaukee.

If I go to a show or a gallery, I almost immediately go home and “make something”.

Everyday life stuff, my children Brandt and McKenzie, something Sharon says or does, and most definitely music. I have thousands of albums on vinyl and in CD form, and I find inspiration in everything from Mozart to Moby, from Green Day to G-Love – and I’m usually listening to something while I’m awake.


Are you working on any new Art Projects (if more than one);


1)     Tell us about your main project?

The main (largest piece of the) current work started out with a portrait of my Mother. It has now turned into more of timeline of her life and how we intersect, how we don’t and how I wish she could be sharing some time with my family. It was a little about some of the world’s current events but that translated over to another painting that I started a few weeks back.

2)     Why did you choose this forum to express your art?

I guess my friend Kathleen Pulz turned me on to it. We had been talking about showing together and/or possibly doing a show with another friend Susan Rowbottom. I guess this venue will be a good measurement. Our work is pretty different, but we’ve known each other since grade school. So that’s always pretty interesting because there are at least good stories floating around.

3)     Where are you at with your main project now?

I think I’m very close to done. But maybe not. I sometimes…often…don’t know or am not sure. But I think so.


What advice would you give a young Artisan in promoting their Art?

Work on your own work whenever you can. Network with anybody you can. Have fun. If you can’t produce things yourself to promote yourself that are really high quality, hire a professional. You went to Art School with so many talented photographers and designers, call one of them and have them photograph your work and produce something really nice. Or call me.


Do you think that being an Artisan is something that is in your blood? Or is it something that can be learned?

I often have told people that anybody can create and should. But I think there has to be a certain inner passion, I’m not sure passion is something that can be learned in this case.

What is the best advice you have ever been given in your field of Art?

Wow. My art during the day is different. I am a designer, an inventor, a marketer, a business strategist, etc. during the day, trying to solve client problems and create things for their customers and their particular target audiences. With any art or music that I produce, I am the target audience and I am trying to create something that in the end, I like. I suppose I care what others think, but not really. And as many other artists, I am my own worst critic. But everything I do; I love doing it, whether it’s during “real work hours” or more in the fine art mode, it’s all very wonderful and exciting creative times. I am very lucky and blessed to have had such support through the years and I’m sure all the advice I have gotten along the way has had an impact.

How many hours do you work daily on your Art and what are your daily tasks for your work?

My art related day job as a designer can go 8-12 hours; somewhere in between I try as much as I can to be the family and father figure. I’ve collaborated on many pieces with my children and I often emulate or steal their styles of painting or drawing. Usually when everyone is asleep is when I work. If I can get an hour or two in a night of work or at least thinking about where the paint is going next, that is pretty good.

What will you be showing at the Vitality Fine Art Fair, Creating Life Pathways; in the Learning Gardens at Kradwell?

Art. Or at least I hope some people think so.

Most of the work I’ve been doing the last couple of years has been pretty lively actually. Some things may have some darker undertones, but generally they are pretty alive. I guess its art that’s all about life. That has a certain energy about it. It will be in some different forms and a range of different sizes. Maybe I will work on something live as well.


More interviews to follow-You can read about the other Artisans who will be showing by clicking here



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