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Meet Rui Haagen with Bemis School of Art!

Rui HaagenHow did you first become interested in art?

It all began as young child when I found adobe clay in my yard and began to sculpt it into animal and human forms. Much to my mother’s chagrin, oh yes, I cut some of the fringe off of my bedspread to fashion mains and tails for my horse sculptures! My mother was a painter, my father an aerospace design engineer. There was always art and music in our home.

Who or what inspires you? Why?

Dr. John Conrad was my first mentor. I’m inspired by geology, cosmology, archeology, nature, water/oceans, animals, plants, texture, patterns, fire, clay, earth colors, raw earth materials, and other arts and artists. Nothing better than having one’s hands in clay. Clay is the way!

What led you to become an art teacher?

I started teaching at an early age, sharing clay with my young friends. So, I went to art school with the goal of teaching art at the junior college level. I got to teach at Pikes Peak Community College, then I was hired to teach high school art at Cheyenne Mountain School District 12. After retiring from D12 I am blessed to be at Bemis School of Art. To teach is to learn!

What about your background or life experiences have created special or unique connections with students?

I use my life experience and education with clay to connect with students on a visceral level. Playing in the mud with people and getting dirty together creates a natural mutual bond. Folks never forget how they felt when creating pottery, and clay is all about feeling, personal expression, and the excitement of touching clay.

If you could place 3 tiny houses anywhere in the world to live in, where would you put them?

I would place one home in the mountains of Colorado, another home on an island beach in Hawaii or Fiji, and finally I would place a home in an Arizona or New Mexico desert, in a loving community surrounded by people pursuing their various passions.

What was the last book you read and loved?

Sheri S. Tepper – The Fresco

If you could time travel, when and where would you go?

I’d head back to the 60s and 70s to the New York art scene (yes, Andy Warhol!), San Francisco, Berkeley, or Laguna, California.

What’s your “dance like nobody’s watching” song?

Kenny Loggins’ – Conviction of the Heart

What’s on your bucket list?

I’ve been fortunate to check lots off of my bucket list so far, yet more remains! I want to continue to travel, be with my animals, friends and family, grow more as a potter, artist and teacher.

If you had to write a life ‘motto’ what would it be?

Live life with an attitude of gratitude!

Anything else you’d like to share?

It is such a gift to be able to share my passion for clay with so many wonderful folk! Thank you Bemis for this ongoing opportunity!

See what Rui is teaching now

See Fox 21 interview with Rui on FAC connect