We’re back for round 2 of FSP Alumni Legacies and this time we’re highlighting recent Park Manager:
Over the years Franconia has had several Park Managers including Bobby and Dane who we recently interviewed in The Boys are Back in Town. More recently we had Hugh Condrey Bryant who came to us as an intern in 2013 after graduating from University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
You may have caught a glimpse of Hugh zooming through the park on the Cushman, atop the tractor, or dangling from the crane. Our Park Managers wear many hats throughout the day and work tirelessly to make Franconia the world renowned sculpture park that it is.
After 2 years at the park, we bid farewell to beloved Hugh and sent warm wishes with him as he headed off to pursue his graduate degree. We recently checked in with him to discuss his experience at Franconia and what this new chapter has brought so far. Here’s what he had to say:
Why did you become Park Manager? What did that position offer you?
Who are some of the people you worked with when you were Park Manager?
How has Franconia influenced your artistic practice?
I was recently told about the 7 p’s. Prior proper planning prevents piss poor performance. I realized that Franconia taught me that in many ways. That was a big influence. Being prepared and having a good plan to provide a means to an end, the end being a sculpture, is important. Also it made me want to build big. I have to scale my ideas back a little now simply because these days I don’t have a forklift and a crane to aid in my artistic endeavors. But the spirit is still there, it’s just finding a way to build that will allow you to easily transport, assemble, and install. I feel like it also taught me to make sculptures that come apart into pieces. It’s easier and a lot smarter.
What’s your favorite thing about Franconia?
As I mentioned earlier, it’s bigger than any one person who comes to work there. To be a part of it is humbling and to have
the opportunity to help out your fellow artists is so fulfilling. There’s no other place quite like it. As Bobby Zokaites would say, it’s utopia. There’s this constant activity of artists coming and going and building that’s just amazing. The energy is inspiring and infectious. It makes you want to build and create. Utopia isn’t a place though (seriously, it’s based on the Greek ou ‘not’ + topos ‘place’) it’s a path you follow for a little while and then you leave it. So artists come and go as well as the seasons. From April to November it is an artistic utopia that turns out so much amazing work and then it dies down for the winter. It’s a transient environment that can be fleeting and bittersweet. That’s kind of the beautiful thing about the place. It’s ever-changing and the only constant is that the white house is always at the end of the driveway. You only stop in as guest and stay a little while and then you’re off and on your way to something else. At the same time a part of my heart will always call Franconia home. I think that’s my favorite thing. That and Taco Tuesdays, Pizza Puh-Thursdays, watching the sunset while you ache from the hard day of work you just did, and then putting on your party dress and having a dance party. The dance parties are one of the sickest parts!
What are you currently working on? What’s next for you?
Currently I’m attending graduate school at the University of Maryland at College Park. I’m working on a number of things, mainly a small crane that is completely manually operated, I’ll probably use it to put on my pants and take out the trash. You know, really menial tasks where a crane would put you at an absurd disadvantage and make the whole task harder and take way too long.
I like absurd concepts like that. It’s a work in progress that doesn’t look much like any crane that’s out there, but I hope to finish it by the beginning of next year. A lot of over complicated and time consuming fabrication is involved and I’ve dialed back the amount of time I’m spending on it so that I don’t get sick of it.
Art and especially making is supposed to be fun, so I have to step away from it for a minute. Outside of that project I’m working with a lot of wood, steel, and concrete. I’m doing a lot of experimentation with concrete at this moment. I wanna see what I can do with it and how far I can push the application of it. I’ve got some really strange ideas I want to get out of my head and I think it’s best to try and execute those ideas during a period of material exploration.
I guess for now I’m really focused on getting through the next three years of school and seeing where that lands me. Hopefully teaching and finding more residency opportunities. Who knows, maybe I’ll find myself at Franconia as a fellowship artist. Well… we’ll see what happens.