Hoa Hong’s portraits of Tupac Amari Shakur and Sade Adu on display at the Schack Art Center. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald).

Hoa Hong’s portraits of Tupac Amari Shakur and Sade Adu on display at the Schack Art Center. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald).

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Exhibit spans hip-hop portraits to recycled-material sculptures

See the work of Marita Dingus and Hoa Hong — two nationally recognized artists — at the Schack Art Center.

Marita Dingus’ sculptures — all from recycled materials — have been exhibited nationally and internationally, including at the Seattle Art Museum, the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery and the Henie Onstad art center in Norway.

Painter Hoa Hong, a recent University of Washington graduate, was selected to create a mural of rapper Notorious B.I.G on a building in Brooklyn, New York. It’s part of a series of portraits she has created of musicians, including Sade, Rihanna and Lil Uzi Vert.

The work of both artists will be displayed at a show simply called “Marita Dingus and Hoa Hong” scheduled to open Thursday at the Schack Art Center in Everett.

Carie Collver, Schack’s gallery director, said the exhibit is an opportunity to see an in-depth presentation of Dingus’ work. The show includes 42 of her pieces, ranging in size from 5 inches to 15 feet.

Although some of Dingus’ work has been displayed at the Schack previously, this is the most comprehensive showing of her art. Some of her sculptures sit on the floor, some are hanging and some are displayed on the walls.

“We sprinkled her stuff all over the gallery,” Collver said.

Collver said she hopes Dingus’ use of recycled materials in her artwork demonstrates how “things we discard can turn into something wonderful.”

Dingus, 64, said her interest in using recycled materials in art began in the 1980s, when she was a graduate student at San Jose State University, and has continued ever since.

“People collect stuff, and they never do anything with it,” she said. “They give it to me, and I turn it into art.”

Dingus uses her mother’s former home in Auburn as her studio. Her sculptures decorate its lawn and fill the inside of the home. Collver said she needed a 17-foot U-Haul trailer to transport her sculptures to Everett.

Collver first saw Hong’s work on social media. This marks the first time she has chosen an artist for an exhibit because she saw their work on Instagram. The show includes about two dozen of her works, including three self-portraits.

Hong describes her work as a thin line between abstraction and realism, first with her own self-portraits and then moving on to hip-hop artists.

Hong, 24, said she selects the musicians she paints by what songs inspire her, in terms of the color palette she uses and lyrics that interest her. “I play their music while I paint them,” she said. “My brush strokes are very specific to certain artists’ genres or style.”

Although she’s had an interest in art since she was a child, Hong said she made a late switch to an art focus at the UW. She had been studying for a degree in biochemistry, with painting as an elective.

“I could tell the difference between waking up for a painting class and a biochemistry class,” she said, which made her think, “I’m doing something wrong here.” That’s when she made the switch to art as a major.

Her Facebook page includes time-lapse videos of some of her portraits as they’re being created. She decided to post the videos in response to the questions she’s often asked about how long each painting takes to complete and the behind-the-scenes process of creating each work.

“It is a performance, and people get to see what it’s like,” she said. Hong said she enjoys watching them herself. “I look at a certain mark I made, and it’s like I know exactly how I felt,” she said. “Those time-lapse videos are more for myself than other people.”

Hong said it was an honor and surprise for her portrait of The Notorious B.I.G. aka Biggie to be chosen for the 9-foot tall and 12-feet wide mural in Brooklyn. It took a five-member team, including herself, more than two weeks to complete it.

“Every time I’m asked about that, I’m like, ‘I’m not sure if that happened, or am I dreaming?’” she said.

As she walked down the street where the mural was unveiled, drivers honked in support, shouted their thanks and called out “We love it!”

Collver said Hong’s work was selected not only for its style and artistic expression but as part of the art center’s goal of displaying work of interest by young adults.

“We know Everett is trying to be a music scene for young people,” Collver said. “We want it to be an art scene, too.”

Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486 or salyer@heraldnet.com.

If you go

An exhibit featuring work by mixed-media artist Marita Dingus and figurative painter Hoa Hong runs Jan. 16 through Feb. 22 at the Schack Art Center, 2921 Hoyt Ave., Everett. An artists’ reception is scheduled for 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday. The art center is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Call 425-259-5050 or go to www.schack.org for more information.

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