the Governor's Arts Award Winners

Stephen Hansen

Las Cruces

2009 recipient, Sculpture

Stephen Hansen often draws inspiration for his work from a play on words, a common phrase or a bit of conversation. Most artists would not want their work described as a "laugh-out-loud experience." But for the Las Cruces sculptor, those who laugh hard at his clever and humorous characters are paying him high respect.

Hansen grew up in Seattle, lived most of his life in Kalamazoo and moved with his family to the Las Cruces area in 1989. His meticulous cartoon-like papier-machè creatures are known all over the world and are in many public and private collections including the Capitol Art Foundation Collection in Santa Fe, the Jyukano Research Institute in Tokyo, the Smithsonian Institution and United States Embassies in Italy and Venezuela.

Playwright Mark Medoff, who received a Governor’s Arts Award in 1980, says about Hansen, "He is one of the unique artists working not only in New Mexico but in the world today. I marvel at his mind, at where his ironic punning concepts come from, and I marvel at the execution."