Monika’s Afternoon With El Paso Artist Ho Baron
Monika spends an afternoon with local artist Ho Baron talking about his artwork and reopening his sculpture garden.
Thanks to an old friend, I first got introduced to Ho Baron's work back in the ‘90s while I was still in high school. Since then, I’ve been fascinated by these stoic giant sculptures and the man that dared to bring them to life.
Needless to say, I’ve been a fan of Baron’s work for years, but it wasn’t until the end of 2019 that I sought to set up an interview with him via another local artist and mutual friend, Hal Marcus.
As we all know, the global pandemic stalled everyone's life, and that included my plans for an interview with Ho Baron. But after reading a recent article about his sculpture garden reopening, I finally was able to spend an afternoon talking with the artist behind these surreal abstract figures that grace his garden.
My afternoon with Ho Baron was filled with colorful stories about his life and sharing his theory about art, saying, "there are never any mistakes in art," which I took to heart.
Ho Baron is an intuitive artist whose art skills I learned are but one facet of his multi-dimensional and fascinating life and imagination.
10 Interesting Facts About Ho Baron:
- He’s not just a sculptor working with bronze, cast stone, and resin; he’s also an old-school photographer creating original works by manipulating film processing techniques before the age of app filters.
- Has a master’s degree in English.
- Wrote a book about his garden sculptures titled Gods for Future Religions, illustrating and defining all his abstract figures. (Still available)
- He also released a small-circulation self-published humor magazine titled El Paso Lampoon in the early '90s.
- His works of art cost anywhere from $25 to $25,000.
- At one time, he was a librarian in the city of brotherly love, Philadelphia.
- Baron has traveled across the world and even spent five years living in an artist community in Belgium.
- His life-size sculptures can be spotted at the downtown library and art museum in El Paso. Other locations include Las Cruces, Albuquerque, Round Rock, and Georgetown in Austin, Roswell, Silver City, and Baltimore.
- He says he might consider creating a time capsule of his works, maybe burying them in his garden or hidden behind false walls in his home.
- He’s worked with artists and cement foundries in Ciudad Juarez to create his sculptures.
Even after his cancer diagnosis, at 79 years old, Ho Baron continues to create art; even though it’s been a decade since his last sculpture, he mostly works with plastic dolls, toy figurines, and wood.
For many, Baron’s abstract figures have been misinterpreted as grotesque and nightmarish, but they’re actually his superheroes, which he explains in detail in his accompanying book Gods For Future Religions.
Ho Baron also mentioned that he is willing to donate his massive sculptures to art museums anywhere around the world with the condition that they pick them up themselves. (Spread the word)
Personally, I would love to see more local support for Ho Baron's artwork; his sculptures, although otherworldly, personify the human body and soul and deserve a second intimate look.
After closing due to his illness and the pandemic, Ho Baron has reopened his sculpture garden for the public's third eye viewing pleasure. For more information, call 915-562-7820.
My deepest gratitude to Ho Baron for welcoming me into his sacred art space, for the time and trust, the stories, and for introducing me to his enchanting Gods for Future Religions.
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