A City’s Canvas: The Artists of Downtown Winston: JR Rim

By David Willard

“Your life is a sculpture, every day chip away.” This quote by J.R. Rim expresses his view on a life well-lived. It looks at how the achievement of a dream comes to pass. A sculpture is a piece of art that starts with a vision, and proceeds through the carving, cutting, or molding of materials in their rawest forms to give a solid form to that vision. It is a product of force, sheer will, and love that for centuries has given us some remarkable creations. Bryce Hauser is certainly aware of the power of this media. In fact, he has made a career of bringing solid objects to life.

Bryce Hauser is the gallery and membership coordinator for Associated Artists of Winston-Salem. He is also a sculptor in the downtown area who has made his mark with his remarkable creations. Graduating from East Carolina University in 2013, Hauser has taken his Bachelors in Fine Arts with a concentration in Sculpture and sculpted quite an artist’s life for himself.

“In the beginning of my education at ECU, I planned to concentrate in Illustration and become a production artist, as I thought that was the only way to make a living in the visual arts. I took Sculpture I, a class where I knew I would learn welding, casting and some carving techniques, which all sounded like fun and useful, tangible skill sets. I cracked on an acetylene torch for the first time and immediately fell in love with the process. Something about the almost elemental fusion of seemingly indestructible materials felt primal, and I realized I could bring any form I could dream up into reality. I quickly changed my focus to sculptural studies. I learned welding, wood carving, steel fabrication, and the ancient art of iron casting, which has not changed in millennia,” says Hauser.

When asked about his influences Hauser is quick to give credit where credit is due. “My family is full of talent: my father was a wonderful tenor and took much joy from singing, my sister can dance and sing and was president of Acapology, an NC State A Cappella group, my brother is a full-time cinematographer and photographer who produces some of the best work I have ever seen, and my Pawpaw was an extremely talented banjo player and could pick with the best of them. Growing up around these personalities virtually guaranteed I would pursue the arts, and I knew it from a very young age,” he continues.

Hauser’s body of work is a testament to his style, as he works to bring life to his sculptures. “My current body of work is an exploration of lasting form and gestural composition through improvisational sculptural practices. I work quickly, bringing a combination of figurative and abstract objects into space. Through this process, I take brief moments of insight and solidify them in a permanent form. All of my sculptures are sketches. The purpose of a sketch is a to assist in creating a more finished object; I do not work to create that terminal object. That object would be, for lack of a better word, dead. My work needs to live, to move and interact with the elements and audience. This way the work is continually evolving. I will make that terminal piece, but that is far off, and I cannot see it now, nor do I wish to,” he adds.

Bryce Hauser has worked hard to not only hone his craft, but to make his mark in the area. His father, who according to Hauser had a huge impact on his life and art, passed away in December of last year. Before passing away, told Bryce to “believe in himself and his artwork.” Hauser is using that advice to fuel his passion even more, as he continues to “chip away” at a life he believes is well-lived, in an area like downtown Winston -Salem that embraces and encourages that kind of passion.