Jack Byron Hastings
Tuesday, August 20, 2013 9:39 am
Jack Byron Hastings, Sculptor, age 87, died Wednesday, July 17, 2013 at his Deepwoods Sewanee studio.
He was born November 16, 1925 in Kennett, MO to Archibald Hastings and Mina Kirkland Hastings.
He is survived by his life partner of 53 years, artist Arlyn Ende; his daughter, Dorian Hastings; a son, Conrad Gardner; step-son, Mark William (Claire) Lovett; three grandsons, and many nieces and nephews.
Jack's idyllic early childhood was spent aboard a dredge, captained by his father, as it cut waterways into new territories. His was a storybook childhood: barefoot until he was 13, sporadically enrolled in 14 different elementary schools as the dredge moved from the Florida Everglades to Minnesota. His wayfaring life continued until he was enrolled at fourteen in Morgan Prep School in Petersburg, TN.
He served in the U.S. Army Air Corps during WWII, then enrolled in art school at L.S.U., and later the Escuela de Pintura y Escultura in Mexico City. There, Jack was privileged to spend extended periods at the base of Diego Rivera's scaffold, learning the process of fresco painting from the great master himself.
Returning to New Orleans in the early 50's, Jack began to establish what became his lifelong career as an artist. He cast bronze sculpture in Italy, had solo exhibitions and installed sculptures in N.Y.C, created public artworks in Boston, and carved cement fountains and garden sculptures in Arizona.
In 1972, Jack and Arlyn sought a saner way of living and found what they were looking for in Bradyville, Tennessee. They settled on a hillside farm in the Burt-Bergen community to become first-time farmers, seeking to sustain their lives with the generous help and friendship of many experienced neighbor farmers, while continuing to make their livelihood with their art. Arlyn became one of the founders of the Arts Center of Cannon County, and Jack created “Standing Ovation,” the large red metal sculpture at the entrance to the Center. In the ensuing 23 years, which they both considered the best years of their lives, Jack created many of his major commissions, including large mobiles for the Nashville Airport and the TVA headquarters in Chattanooga. He also began documenting his life in essays and poems.
In 1994 Jack and Arlyn moved on from their beloved farm life in Cannon County to hand-build their Deepwoods studios overlooking a small lake in Sewanee in 1994. In this setting, they completed numerous commissions for private residences and Jack accomplished his dream of publishing his writings as The Illuminated History of Darkness (aka IHOD) which was released in 2000. A joint exhibition of the work of Jack Hastings and Arlyn Ende was held in Nashville in October, 2012 at Tinney Contemporary Gallery, entitled "The Essence of Our Ticking," after one of Jack's poems.
A generous spirit filled with wisdom, Jack Hastings was a ready model to countless other aspiring artists. As was his way, Jack faced his final illness as a brave realist.
Contributions in Jack’s honor may be made to The Arts Center of Cannon County.