Ventnor artist Harry Hasson

Article Originally found in The Press of Atlantic City

Posted: Wednesday, August 26, 2015 1:30 pm

ventorartistThe most striking pieces seem like a mashup of the minds of Picasso, Tim Burton and John Waters.

Some are works in wood, or stone or bronze. And some are in the unusual media of kitchen utensils and old neckties.

They are among 200 works by Ventnor resident Harry Hasson, who has been creating – and holding onto – artwork for more than 20 years.

But now Hasson is letting go. He is going to be moving to a smaller home, and much of his artwork is for sale.

During his career, Hasson was able to use some of his creativity as the man behind the Harry Hasson Florist shops. But in his free time, he let his imagination soar when he worked on his sculptures. For many years, he would spend at least five hours a day sculpting and carving.

Hasson cannot take all of his artwork with him when he moves, so he has scheduled an art and antiques sale from Thursday through Saturday at 1 North Oxford Ave.

“I know what I like in art, but I did it for my own self, not to sell it,” said Hasson, 79, who started carving on evenings and rainy days when he was a lifeguard on the Margate beach. “When you are creative, you get nice feelings.”

Most of pieces are made out of wood, clay or stone. Some of the stone carvings look like wood from a distance. Hasson carves and sands wood to bring out colors buried deep within. Some of his stone pieces are from rocks he found in Italy or Greece. Some pieces are in the shape of animals or have faces on them. Others are just abstract. When Hasson obtained more exotic materials – railroad ties from Guatemala, engine parts from Cape Canaveral and brass propellers from a boat – they inspired some of his greater flights of fancy.

Hasson will have items for sale ranging from an affordable $100 to $6,000. Some works are garden pieces, and other are meant for indoors. Among the more expensive items because of their size are six sculptures made up of kitchen utensils.

The 6-foot-tall kitchen gadget sculptures – Chef Gadgeteer, a waiter named Martini and a barmaid named Saucey – are joined by a pig, gazebo and an umbrella and table set, which were made out of a 3,000-piece collection of forks, knives, spoons, coffee cans, corks, small toasters, ironing boards and other kitchen items. Hasson’s sister and her husband collected antique kitchen utensils used from the 1900s through 1950s.

“I came out when her husband died, and she said she didn’t want to sell the utensils. She wanted me to make something out of them,” said Hasson, who minored in art when he attended Rutgers University. “It was hard to come up with something.”

For a turn-of-the-century millennium party in Florida, Hasson created a clay work of a dinosaur swooping down from outer space. He sent it to a foundry where a mold was created and it was cast in bronze.

Hasson created a lamp body out of titanium from Cape Canaveral that he obtained from a rare-metals junkyard in Florida. He attached wood carvings of small birds to the globe light at the top of the lamp.

King Tie, a 6-foot-tall mummy made out of 150 silk ties and framed by a sarcophagus, also will be visible on the first floor.

Even though Hasson’s art will dominate the sale, there will be some antiques. Hasson owns a Hires root beer truck from 1919 and a 1930 Ford Model A Phaeton.

Not only has Hasson never sold his artworks before, but the pieces have rarely been seen by the public. Hasson’s sculptures were on display earlier this year at Noyes Arts Garage of Stockton University in Atlantic City and in 2011 during a Ventnor garden tour. Some pieces were displayed in 2006 at the Culinary Archives & Museum at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, R.I.

While Hasson has lived with some of these pieces for decades, he is now prepared to see his sculptures find new homes.

“I’m pretty damn old. I’ve got too many pieces. If someone appreciates them, I appreciate that,” said Hasson, who added he will hold on to a few pieces that mean the most to him.

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