By Jackie Devereaux
PALM SPRINGS, CA – A lot of people may argue that photography is not a true art form. I disagree completely, and you will too after you see what Terry Hastings can do with a camera. Maybe he doesn’t put paint to canvas or cast metal into sculptures but he does create fine art with his photographic images, and he does it in a stunning and vibrant way.
Hastings’ varied art forms have evolved since childhood. “I remember when I was four years old coming down the stairs with an encyclopedia open to pages with musical notes asking my parents ‘What are these?’” he said in an interview at this studio home located inside a clothing optional apartment complex in Palm Springs.
“I asked my parents what the notes sounded like and they bought me a piano and lessons,” he said. After the piano lessons were drumming lessons, then choir, speech and painting classes. That was the beginning of his artistic journey of self-realization which eventually led to a bachelor’s degree in Theater from Cal State Northridge in 1988.
While living in Los Angeles he worked as an actor, director, songwriter and costume designer but paid his monthly bills working part-time as a waiter at high-end restaurants.
Each artistic endeavor in Los Angeles lead him closer and closer to enlightenment until finally in the summer of 2003, he opened a clothing design store back in his home town of Minneapolis, Minnesota called Identity Fashions. His love for vibrant colors and fabrics quickly became noticed by the local art community including Miss BeBe Zahara Benet, who walked into Hastings’ new store and announced she needed a dress for an upcoming stage appearance with singer/actress Cyndi Lauper for a Gay Pride event.
The store had been open one week and Hastings had landed his first important commission. He drew mock up designs, selected various fabrics and found the perfect combination. The only problem was the dress would cost $6,000. Benet, herself a struggling artist, couldn’t afford that, so Hastings returned to the drawing board, choosing a less expensive fabric and created a show-stopping dress for free.
However, after the economy tanked in 2008, he closed his clothing design store and accepted a longtime friend’s offer for a job at Trios Restaurant in Palm Springs, where he found quick acceptance. Trios owner, Tony Marchese, made a deal to exhibit Hastings’ photography for two months to benefit a high school charity. After that he moved his work into the Incredible Artist.com Gallery located in Cathedral City where he started selling his photographs.
“The moment I got here, I saw the sand dunes north of town and knew I had to photograph there. I took 15 yards of fabric, asked a few models to pose and waited for the wind,” he said. Hastings gets inspired by movement, motion and dance with vibrant colors of fabric combined with the elements of sand, water and the wind.
Hastings, now 47, works part time at the Chop House in Palm Springs, so if you frequent that restaurant, he might be your waiter. People must realize that a lot of artists from New York to Los Angeles etch out a living working part-time in restaurants. It’s a natural way of life. But for Hastings art is his true passion and he’s pursued it at every twist and turn in life.
After the Incredible Artist gallery closed in Feb. 2011, Hastings moved his photographs to the Stephen Archdeacon Gallery located at 865 N. Palm Canyon in Palm Springs.
“I got one small wall space for three photographs because most fine art galleries don’t exhibit photographers. They just don’t think we’re artists,” he said. But after those first three pieces sold, the gallery gave him more and more space until now his work adorns the gallery’s walls in one entire room and both front windows. To date, Hastings has sold 40 photographs ranging in price from $165 to $2,600 each.
“Palm Springs has blossomed into a world-class art, architecture and design destination. We are proud to be part of this renaissance by bringing together the work of leading local artists with collectors, designers and art lovers from around the globe,” said Stephen Archdeacon. “Our gallery specializes in the art of figurative and abstract artists who live and work in Palm Springs and the West Coast.”
Hastings also was one of the featured artists at Wang’s of the Desert restaurant for about two years where his work was sold to benefit two local charities – the AIDS Assistance Program and the Friends of Palm Springs Animal Shelter. Wang’s of the Desert closed briefly over the summer for renovations and is scheduled to reopen on Thursday, Aug. 30.
For more information about Hastings’ art, go to www.incredibleartist.com or www.thehastingsgallery.com and www.stephenarchdeacongallery.com or call 760-673-7523 for an appointment to view his work.