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Artist & His African Grey Parrot Pair Up To Sculpt One-Of-Kind Pieces

African grey parrot
Artist Joseph Havel released a collection of pieces designed to explore the collaborative work between himself and his African grey parrot, Hannah.

Art is a highly expressive medium whereby much of it requires a subjective review. But the beauty of art sometimes lies not in its interpretation, but in its creation. Often, art requires inspiration, something to encourage it forward, to bring it full circle so that it can be displayed for what it is.

Artistic expression comes from all corners of the globe via many artists. One such eclectic artist uses the inspiring separate works of his African grey parrot, Hannah, to help create his beautiful and expressive bronze sculptures. The famed artist is Joseph Havel. In his current display of sculptures, Havel credits Hannah with providing some of the inspiration.

Havel is a noted artist whose works have been exhibited in prestigious galleries around the world. Many of his pieces are also kept in museums. His specialty is designing and sculpting those designs, then casting them in bronze as his favored medium. He is also known for his work in resin, paper, and textile. Based in both Houston and San Francisco, Havel uses the admiration of exquisite ancient Chinese bronze pieces to help provide the springboard for some of his own work but with a current theme and twist.

A Parrot’s Artistic Touch

Havel’s wife brought Hannah home some 23 years ago. Hannah and Havel became inseparable and, over time, the artist began to recognize an interesting thing that Hannah heavily involved herself with — chewing. This sculpting collaboration developed over time when Hannah consistently chewed up all her toys, making it an expensive habit. To help save money, Havel gave Hannah balsa wood from his studio. Eventually, Hannah came to prefer shoeboxes. It wasn’t long before he began to recognize the art in Hannah’s chewed upon pieces. He considered them her personalized architecture as she was working to create and expand her own environment. He soon got the idea to transform some of her architecture into architecture of his own for art purposes.

A Collection Created By Man And Parrot

bird art
African grey Hannah’s chewed-up shoeboxes were turned into sculptures by her owner, noted artist Joseph Havel, and are currently on display at the Asia Society Texas Center in Houston.

Havel released a collection of pieces designed to explore the collaborative work between himself and his African grey parrot. The pieces are added to his most recent exhibition referred to as Joss: Works by Joseph Havel. Between August 29 and November 8, 2020, the Asia Society Texas Center in Houston is home to the exhibition. These bronze pieces are originally paper materials, some of them initially created by Hannah. The created paper objects were then merged with joss paper — sheets of paper also called “host” or “spirit” money.  Joss paper is primarily used to burn during Chinese funerals and ceremonies as a means of burnt offerings to departed spirits. Havel’s use of joss paper on the paper art, including some by Hannah, are then burned away in the casting process to create a remarkable and expressive bronze sculpture.

Hannah’s pecked shoeboxes still have her created holes fully visible in some of the sculptures on display. In Hannah’s offerings, Havel saw enough intensity to translate them into enduring works of art that will forever become a part of our existence. If you find yourself in Houston during the mentioned time frame, stop off and view the pieces. 

Good going, Hannah. You help to further the artistic side of birds everywhere. As art viewers and bird lovers, we appreciate the works of Joseph Havel and Hannah.

2 thoughts on “Artist & His African Grey Parrot Pair Up To Sculpt One-Of-Kind Pieces

  1. John Havel, you’re one creative man and artist, and I just can’t find the right words to describe Hannah. AGPs are one of a kind birds.
    We’ve 2 things in common, Mr. Havel, and that’s I’m an artist and a photographer and my CAGP, Raphaelle is 33 years young. She doesn’t chew much on boxes and paper, but she’s aware of my camera lens in her face, her cage, and other places since she was a baby. Raphaelle is the light of my life and her intelligence, humor, memory, love and dependence stifles me everyday we’re together. Maybe someday, our paths will cross. Good luck with your art, Hannah and your life. I will cherish your article.

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