Joel Hotchkiss was born in 1949 in Torrington, and raised in Sherman, Connecticut. His father DeWolfe Hotchkiss worked on Madison Avenue as a 1960’s “Mad-man”. Being from a creative family Joel pursued a career in art, photography and film at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY, graduating in 1972 with a BFA in Advertising Design and Communication. He moved to Boston in 1973 and worked as an Art Director at MacDougall Associates in Salem, MA.
In 1976 he began exploring kinetic art by making and suspending numerous mobiles from the ceiling of his Beacon Street apartment. The “art of mobiles” was consumed his interests as he discovered that the mobile art form combined all the skills he felt creatively: design, balance, color, composition and the wide use of materials. With this newfound passion he relocated in 1978 to the West Coast and continued his creative journey in Oakland, California and fully dedicated his time to mobiles.
The early 1980's in the Bay Area became a very exciting period for Joel. He commuted daily from Oakland across the San Rafael into Marin County to a Studio/Workshop called Kinetic Objects where he worked and perfected his art of mobile making. He is a self taught welder and metal worker developing techniques with a range of metals including Copper, Brass, Aluminum, Steel and Stainless Steel as well as introducing plastic and fabric applications into his work.
Joel recalls: "On Fridays I would head down across the Golden Gate Bridge into San Francisco from Marin and deliver my mobiles to a Gallery in Ghirardelli Square, pick up a check for mobiles that sold that week and then return home to Oakland over the Bay Bridge".
"Designing and creating contemporary mobiles for over 40 years has been a rewarding artistic adventure. Mobiles are an intriguing sculptural discipline where balance, motion, composition, materials, scale, color and form all must be considered in a finished design. I continuously imagine new ideas for constructing the mobiles, drawing on creative impulses from past experiences that result in innovative approaches that can reveal new designs, balancing techniques and uses of different materials."
“I believe mobiles add life and energy to interior living spaces. The viewer either directly or subliminally picks up on the balance and movement that is occurring. Like a companion that just performs in time and space and effortlessly continues in motion… requiring no energy source besides the wafts of ambient air that pass through the room.”
Joel has designed an impressive line of mobile designs over the years for both indoors and out. Many were sold in Galleries and Museum Stores nationwide including San Francisco MOMA and the Guggenheim Museum and the National Gallery in Washington, DC. He also creates larger mobile commissions for residential and commercial spaces.
Currently Joel works with his wife Sandra and two assistants at their Studio/Workshop and Art Gallery located in West Stockbridge, MA. His complete line of mobiles are represented on his website at www.artmobiles.com