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Thursday, Aug. 18, 2005 11:35 am

Sculpting a career in transition

Springfield’s George Hinds embraces "intelligent" sculpture

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George Hinds: “You can go home again.”

George Hinds was a recreational sculptor for most of his life until a recent employment “speed bump” prompted him to turn his art into a full-time enterprise. He’s off to a promising start.

Along the way to today, Hinds has been a technical illustrator at Fiat Allis, a construction worker, and a coal miner. This native son of Springfield was in the first graduating class of Lincoln Land Community College and the first graduating class of what was then Sangamon State University. “My ability as an artist was evident in grade school, but I had to work at math, and I liked it. I took a double major of math and art in college,” he recalls. “I wanted to teach math, but I wanted to do art.”

Hinds taught math for eight years, but after his return to Springfield, his zeal for teaching faded precipitously, and inspired him to concentrate on his first love: sculpture. His first effort to share his art bore fruit in the selection of his Sculpture “Geo 301” to be part of the Illinois State Fair Art Gallery, located in the Artisans Building. It is only his third gallery display, and his first since a 1989 show in Louisville, Ky.

At age 55, Hinds has found his “calling” in what the ancient Greeks called the Platonic solids, five perfect shapes. “The Greeks thought they were the fundamental building blocks of the universe,” Hinds explains. “They attributed elements to their shapes. For example, the tetrahedron [four faces, shaped like triangles] represented fire; hexahedron [or cube, six square faces], earth; the octahedron [eight triangles], air; dodecahedron [12 pentagons], the cosmos; and the icosahedron [20 triangles], water. Only platonic solids can be joined together at a single vortex to create a different solid.”

The basic solids evolved into compound shapes made by removing portions of surfaces. “Volumes have been written about these shapes,” Hinds says. Through what Hinds brands “Intelligent Sculpture” he creates sculpture based on the platonic solids, created in plastic and copper.

In addition to Intelligent Sculpture, Hinds has also produced asymmetrical sculptures, which he considers “models” for larger outside productions, if he can find sponsors. Most of the models are offered as interior decorative pieces. Many are mounted on bases shaped as though they are shadows of the sculptures attached to them.

Hinds has high hopes for the future as he wades into the local art scene, meeting artists and listening to those who know the waters well. “Many well-established people have been encouraging to me thus far,” he says. “I guess, as far as Springfield is concerned, you can go home again.”

All crafts, paintings, drawings, prints, photographs and sculptures accepted for the 2005 state fair gallery were juried in. Often forgotten is the fact that just like farm livestock, layer cakes and other exhibits during the fair, the gallery categories are judged and prizes awarded.

Rod Buffington, superintendent of the professional art exhibit for 20 years, says 81 artists from Illinois were accepted for this year’s gallery. “There are 20 well-credentialed Springfield area artists’ works on display. It’s a very good year,” he says. “I’m very pleased with the quality and caliber of artists we have from all over the state of Illinois.”

Illinois State Fair Art Gallery is located in the Artisan Building, which is open 10 a.m.-7 p.m. on each day of the Illinois State Fair.

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