Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Hans Haveron - moving toward the light

Mural done for Lightning In A Paint Can

I recently had the chance to sit down with Hans Haveron, fine artist from West Hollywood.  Haveron is another one of the post-modern gypsies who now reside in Southern California.  He had just returned from "Lightning In A Bottle", the annual gathering of the tribes that takes place in Silverado, CA.

Hans was still very excited about his time at Oak Canyon Ranch.  At the event he created a five-foot "live mural"...a piece that is part performance, part painting for the "Lightning In A Paint Can" fundraiser for The DoArt Foundation.  I asked what surface he used for this work.  He said that he usually packs some large canvases and a staple gun.  The fabric can be stretched between trees, mounted to a wood frame or a convenient wall.  He went on to say that he has traveled to other countries and just picked up trash found lying around and painted on it.

Just before "Lightning In A Bottle", Hans had been commissioned to paint a tour bus for Felix Lighting.  The project was completed in one day along with Sean Griffin using "cans and caps", graffiti art.  I asked if there was anything he hasn't painted on, knowing he has covered slices of trees, factory windows and the bus.  Haveron responded that he's sure there are things he hasn't painted yet but he has worked on a fair variety of things including "planes, trains, and automobiles...and boats."
Tour bus for Felix Lighting - collaboration with Sean Griffin
 Where did all of this gorgeous art start?  Haveron ran away from his home in Texas at the age of fifteen.  On the road he picked up a spray can and did a lot of graffiti art.  Eventually he added bristle and airbrushes to his arsenal.

After landing in West Hollywood, Hans did many things to keep life and limb together.  Some commercial art, modeling and make-up.  As he integrated himself into the WeHo Tribe, he connected with groups such as Lucent Dossier, the burlesque cirque troupe.  He designed the airbrush, fantasy style make-up that they continue to use today, after Hans stopped working with them.  "Imitation is a sincere form of flattery" is how Hans prefers to look at it rather than being angry over being ripped-off. 

Cassidy Haley with body art
by Hans Haveron

Haveron worked for eight years as a model.  This put him together with a group of clothing designers that  would become Skingraft Designs.  Here he added people like Cassidy Haley and Johnny Cota to his circle.  He recently worked with Skingraft on the Britney Spears video. 

Another clothing designer he connected with was Roxy Contin.  Roxy is currently Haveron's business partner and room-mate along with being an very successful designer in her own right.  Hans has recently collaborated with her on some design projects. 

Getting down to the really nitty-gritty of Hans' art, he gave a beautiful analogy of how he approaches the creative process.  He said "It's like making a Mother's Day card.  There is nothing in your heart but excitement and love.  You just want to make something amazing for love.  All my art is done out of love and gratitude for being here.  It's like a Universe Day card, thanking it for all the good things.  It's a gift.  An offering."

What drew me to Hans' art was all the symbolism I perceived as I went through the catalogs he has on-line.  Fish, butterflies, moths, these things seemed to speak to me and were the driving force to try to book this interview.  It turns out these symbols were not just my perception but very intentional.   The first thing he explained was my error in identifying certain fish as koi.  They are telescope goldfish, which are bred and raised by the Buddhist monks of Tibet.  Many of the female figures denote the Goddess and the prominent moth is always moving toward the light.

Haveron likes symbolism because he feels it creates doorways for your mind.  Certain objects and creatures cause you to think.  They are also represent spiritual ideals.  Hans considers himself very spiritual, a result of coming through a rough early life and emerging on the other side intact physical, emotionally and psychologically. 

The most profound story he shared with me in regards to symbolism was the explanation of his painting "Sepia's Secret".  Recently pop-rocker Adam Lambert chose an element from the painting as inspiration for his latest tattoo.  The painting had existed for a while and Lambert has now purchased it.  In "Sepia's Secret"  there is the female "goddess", her cloak outstretched to protect two children, symbols of innocence and counterpoint to the ego.  They hold a large key.  Above the goddess is the all-seeing eye of the universe, with its keyhole shaped pupil.

The point of the story is that the child holds the key to unlock the wisdom of the universe.  Therefore all of us but especially artists of all types must always make sure the child is present.  The most difficult part of being an artist is the battle against the ego to let the child prevail so the art can be made.  The child is the creator.  If the ego gets too big, the child dies and so will your art.  It was after Adam learned this story that he chose the key for his growing collection of body art. His previous tattoos, the eye of Horus and the infinity symbol also have very specific meanings to the musician.

Hans says Adam's choice makes complete sense as he does an amazing job of keeping his ego in check and calling on his child to create.  He is a pure spirit who loves helping his friends.  As for Lambert's art, despite his success he still doesn't settle for less than his best. 

Lambert shared the tattoo via Twitter and included a mention of Hans' inspiration.  Word traveled fast and Haveron found himself talking to the head of ICM, an agency that represents actors such as Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise, who congratulated him for having his art being chosen.  This is the first time, that he is aware of, that someone has had any of his work inked on themselves.

Moving on to other works, Hans has done more than one large mural with other artists.  I asked if he prefers collaborative works or creating solo.  He continued on the theme of the ego vs the child by saying that collaborations pull from a different side.  They challenge him to subdue that ego that wants to show-off and take charge of the project so that the child can just let go.  When working alone these two sides also fight for dominance but it's all internal.  He likes both opportunities because of these differences. 

A question I have been asking every artist I talk to is, "What other 'art languages' do you speak?"  I have learned that most creative people, once they tap into that first talent, challenge themselves to find other medium they can recreate emotions in that will connect with observers allowing them to become participants.  Haveron is a classically trained musician who plays guitar, bass and flute.  He is a welder, woodworker and performance artist.   

The last question I got in before we had to wrap due to a photoshoot at his studio was based on listening to the tracks Hans has on his playlist on his Myspace.  There is a lot of "free composition" electronica.  I wanted to know if this is the type of music he listens to when he is working.  He said for the most part, yes.  He likes it to be "other worldly".  He favors pieces with electronically created noises.  He tries to imagine what might make that noise or what the world would look like where the sound came from. 

As we parted we agreed this wouldn't be the last time we talked.  I've already started a new list of questions in the days that followed this conversation.  We both look forward to doing it again.

Haveron Studios
Hans Haveron on Myspace
Haveron Studios on Facebook

Hans and I would like to extend a very special thank you to Adam for giving permission to publish the tattoo/painting story.  There were no Adam questions in my prepared list as I wanted this interview to be about Hans.  The story was part of his spontaneous response to the question about symbolism.  We agreed that I would not include it though unless Adam was ok with it as he has not spoken about it to the press previously.  I'd also like to give a huge thank you to Hans for giving me the photo of he and Adam.  I ask all readers to direct others to come here to view it, rather than copying and pasting it all over the internet. 


  1. Brilliant!! Great Interview!!

  2. Once again you have reached out and grasped a part of the entertainer and found thier spirit to share it with us! Thank you! I especially like that you do not focus on one aspect of the person or work. You bring the entire individual and the many sides of the world and work they are a part of to your readers!

  3. You've not just shown us Hans here, but a whole web of artists who are centered, center each other, and work towards a common goal. This is excellent! Thank you for this!

  4. Beautiful article. Thank you so very much. I've shared it with several people.

  5. Han's is a good friend of mine, i'm glad you two crossed paths. Great story and hopefully more to come.

  6. I have come to know Hans through Adam Lambert when he got the famous tatoo of Hans painting. I am so happy to read this article, it shines some insight on a true artist Hans for people like me who are unaware of such artistry due to hectic life. Thank you....indigo

  7. Fantastic interview! I love Han's repeated use of symbolic imagery, all the moreso now that we have his own words about how they have come from within. The child vs. ego theme is inspirational. The backstory of Adam's key tattoo is icing on the cake. Thank you.

  8. Thank you to Hans for sharing his gorgeous art with its complex imagery and symbolism, and thank you to Hans and Adam for sharing their story about Adam's tattoo and the Hans painting Adam purchased.....

    Thank you, MamaKath, for a wonderfully insightful article...

  9. This was so lovely. Good luck to him on his artistic pursuits.

  10. Thanks for sharing this interesting article and also showing their picture together indeed.

    More power to you.....

  11. Wonderful story and what talent Hans has. Very creative. Thanks for the article.

  12. Fascinating artist - thank you to Adam for directing me here.

  13. Because of Adam I came here. Wow! Hans is awesome. I think I will follow his art from now on.

  14. Wow great story. The things you learn from being an Adam Lambert fan.

  15. Amazing artist and fantastic interview. Thank you for sharing.

  16. Thanks for this article. I enjoyed learning more about Hans and his art. I also gained a better understanding of what makes Adam Lambert the great artist that he is. Love the paintings and now I know the story of the key. I have worn a key for years but mine did not have a story...I always had a feeling that it needed one but it had to be the "right" one. I have chosen to adopt Adam's story because it resonates with me on a so many levels. Art & music...the key to my inner child and the universe. Thank you Adam, again, for the beauty that you represent in the world. Peace, love, and light.

  17. Thank you for an excellent interview of this amazingly talented artist Hans and to Adam Lambert for offering approval for his story inclusion as it presented illuminating insight into the inner thinking and creativity of Hans the artist. I can't even imagine what Hans the artist might create while listening to Adam music... a collaboration that would proffer out-of-this-universe art!

  18. Thank you for this beautiful article which offers a very healthy perspective on the driving force that should always remain in art! Very heartwarming to see how various artists inspire and appreciate each other.

  19. Wow, this is an amazing interview!
    I've loved Hans' work for quite a while now, since I first read this interview last year!
    I think how perfect a combination of artistry are Hans and Adam...I love that they have been working together like this...a wonderful story!