Dene Hakner was born in 1980 just north of London, United Kingdom. Both his parents painted and illustrated so he developed a creative and inquisitive nature from an early age. Dene continued to expand his love of the arts, leaning more towards the formality and order of the Graphic disciplines and graduated with an honours degree in 2004. Dene has gone on to sell his abstract paintings and sculpture across the UK and internationally and is known for what he calls his bi-polar approach to the canvas; sometimes meticulously ordered but more often than not wantonly aggressive and free. Tell us your story, why did you become an artist?
I don’t follow many mantras in life, but one that I do is to simply ‘do what you love doing’. I have always loved observing and digesting art and design from as long back as I can remember. Visiting galleries, digesting and analysing paintings, architecture, typography, print, sculpture, advertising and product design. The natural progression was to create my own work, so that is what I started doing. I know what it is I like, but not until I see it and so that ‘thing’ I like is what I try and create with my art.
When you create a new work, how do you go about it? What comes first?
I rarely start with a plan, more a rough colour palette. My approach switches almost daily from perhaps setting out for a very formal geometric piece with painstaking process, only to look at it the next day and spray, scratch and throw paint all over it. I then work back in some formality and generally from that mix of processes I reach a happy medium.What can you tell us about your studio, what makes it special to you and how does it influence the way you work?
I am lucky enough to have an outbuilding at home I use as my studio. I work on 10-15 paintings at any one time and take influence from the unplanned outcome of a stencil spray (for example) on one painting, which I then see I can replicate on an unfinished work from a few weeks ago to finish it off. It’s a very organic process. I can come out of the studio having achieved something 100% different than what I went in there to do. I can’t see that approach ever changing as it is where the creativity thrives. Is there a work of art in your life that has especially impressed you?
Hmm, not an individual one as such, although the De Stihl and Bauhaus design movements greatly influenced my early works and inform the approach to geometry and composition I employ now. The placement of colour and form on the canvas of Kandinsky and Mondrian for example seem simple, but the process and mathematics behind it is meticulously considered. Even in my looser more free works, I am still incredibly careful that each mark on the canvas is placed in position for a reason.
Reach to the stars: where will you be in 5 years?
I want to share my passion for what I do. If that brings a wider audience to my paintings and art then I will embrace the attention by collaborating on projects with others with the same outlook. If my art can continue to bring joy and raise a passion in a wide range of customers, visitors and people generally then I will consider myself a success. Instagram