Simon Huelsbeck said he can’t remember a time when he wasn’t doing artwork.
The multimedia artist received his bachelor of fine arts degree from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design in 1997. He received his master’s from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art in 2002.
Since then, Huelsbeck’s work has been featured in galleries and institutions in Philadelphia, Chicago, Minneapolis, New York and Rochester.
Since 2004, he’s taught art at Rochester Community and Technical College. Recently, Huelsbeck was named a semi-finalist for an Ardee Award in the Outstanding Artist Award and the Excellence in Arts Education categories. The Ardee Awards are given by the Greater Rochester Arts and Cultural Trust.
You call yourself a multimedia artist. What mediums are incorporated in your work?
I’ve always been an oil painter. That’s my thing. My background is very representational. I’m very interested in making things look like stuff. I’ve always been interested in a lot of different stuff. I like conceptual artwork, and I like abstraction. I like video work. I like sculpture and photo.
I think I’m drawn to the landscape and to nature, generally speaking. I’m drawn to things in my life, personal narratives. Ultimately, I don’t want to have to make work for money. If I do what I do and I make money, that’s wonderful, but I want to follow my interests. Fortunately, there are a lot of galleries that will show experimental works. There is always a place for that stuff.
What were your thoughts when you saw that you were nominated for two Ardee awards?
I’m honored by that. It feel really good to hear people say, “Kudos.” I’m really excited for the teaching nomination. In my life, I spend so much of my efforts working on my teaching, and I care about it a lot. It feels really good.
What is your teaching philosophy?
It’s not really for me to inspire them. It’s about them discovering it because (my students) are ready to discover it. Maybe some people have been making art since they were kids and people kept telling them it was a stupid waste of time. For me, it’s wonderful to tell them that it’s not a waste of time. It’s serious and we’re going to work hard at it. People do stuff and they’re proud of it.
The joy of creating something really turns them on and gets people excited in a big way, and it gets me excited to see it happen. Whether it’s painting or cooking or brewing beer or gardening or whatever you’re going to do, I feel that living a creative life is part of living a rich life. I think people should really get turned on about being creative and making stuff.