Alex Hoda: If Only I'd Known

Ideas Tap - 23/08/13 by Siana Peters

Ahead of an exhibition of his work at Edel Assanti, sculptor Alex Hoda tells his younger self to keep cool amid the hype and stop lazing around in bed…

What is your name/age/job title? 

Alex Hoda, 33, sculptor.

What one thing do you wish you had known at the start of your career that you know now? 

Don't believe your own hype. It's just a fleeting thing; the work is what remains. 

Concentrate on your long-term career, rather than on being the talk of the town. It's very odd to one minute be working in a studio and the next sitting down for dinner with gallerists and collectors, people who buy million pound objects of art. You can get caught up in that but at the end of the day you have to go back to your studio.

If you could go back and give your younger self any practical advice, what would it be? 

To work harder and be more adventurous. I've probably squandered a few years too many lying around in bed. It's only by ploughing through ideas that you really get anywhere. Good ideas don't - or only very rarely - pop out of the sky. The more mistakes I made, the better the work became and I wish I'd started the process earlier.


If someone had told your 16-year-old self that you would be a successful sculptor in your 30s, would you have believed them? Or did you have other ambitions? 

No, but I'm not sure that I am that successful now. I always wanted to be an artist so success wasn't something I aimed for. I've always tried to follow the art and not the prize.


Is there an embarrassing episode from your past that you wish you could edit out? 

Lots. Too many to list! I'd prefer to just put them in the past and leave them there.


Is there a single thing that you wish you'd had/known about when you started out? Something that has shaped the way you work today?
Digital scanning. For a sculptor the process of enlargement, in particular scale, is an integral part of your practice. Before digital scanning this would invariably be done by model makers and technicians in foundries and the final outcome was always slightly different to the maquette [model] produced by the artist. I was always looking for a technique that would give me absolute accuracy and digital gave me this.  

Is there a project of which you are particularly proud?

For me, the next body of work is always the most exciting and the one I'm most proud of. Much of my practice is concerned with the immediacy of small maquettes made big. And my next body of work really has been a large leap forward in developing the ideas around the enlargement of maquettes and, in particular, using redundant objects to critique the notions of grandeur in sculpture.

What would you consider your 'big break'? And how did you get it? 

My biggest break is really down to one woman, Medeia Cohan-Petrolino [Creative Director at the School for Creative Startups]. I owe most of my success to her belief in me as a sculptor. 

She's a brash American; speaks from the hip. But I think it's good to have that kind of grounding from someone you can trust so you don't get caught up in your own success and start producing harebrained ideas that you think are God's gift to artwork when in fact they're a load of crap. 


Alex's latest work, D'Construction, will be on show at Edel Assanti from 18 September to 26 October.

23 August 2013