He Works Big: Mark Hazlerig’s Impact on Illustration at CCAD

November 20th, 2013 by IMAGE Magazine
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"Fleopatra," the year-end creation of Mark Hazlerig’s 2011–2012 3D Illustration students. Photo: Danielle Ford (CCAD 2013)

“Fleopatra,” the year-end creation of Mark Hazlerig’s 2011–2012 3D Illustration students. Photo: Danielle Ford (CCAD 2013)

By Bill Mayr

Mark Hazlerig’s quiet demeanor can disguise the heart of his career as one of CCAD’s most admired Illustration professors: a combination of serious thought and energetic support for his students.

But this spring, he was very publicly found out. Hazlerig received CCAD’s 2013 Teaching Excellence Award (along with James Lutz, chair of the Advertising & Graphic Design department).

Hazlerig’s teaching includes keeping an eye on the future, allowing students to take the lead, and pitching in to aid their efforts.

Visitors to Kinney Hall in recent months saw a particularly massive example of the results.

A much-larger-than-life brown, green, and red centipede dominated Kinney Hall’s lobby, towering over a blonde-haired, blue-eyed naif in a white dress.

Students in Hazlerig’s 3D illustration course created the centipede and its companion as a project for CCAD’s annual spring student exhibition. “We make monsters and creatures and critters and giant bugs,” Hazelrig says. Students fabricated the current Kinney Hall installation from latex rubber over wooden armatures.

The Path to 3D

Taking illustration, with all its venerable history, into the realm of three dimensions was a leap. The low-key Halzerig doesn’t speak in revolutionary rhetoric, but instead sounds like an artist who has thought things through.

“The weird thing is, most art is two dimensional, but when you walk down the street, life is three dimensions. I found it more interesting to do three-dimensional things; you can pick them up, squeeze them, play with them. It’s a different way of looking at art. It’s more sculptural,” he says.

“It’s a class I wrote 20 years ago, and I’ve been nurturing it for 20 years,” he says of 3D illustration.

What makes it illustration, rather than fine art? “These objects tell stories; they are characters from stories,” he says. And then the characteristic Hazlerig kicker: “And sometimes the stories need 12-foot centipedes.”

2013's giant centipede.

2013’s giant centipede.

Early Years at CCAD

Hazelrig, 66, holds two BFA degrees from CCAD, Advertising & Graphic Design from 1974 and Illustration from 1978. His teaching began in 1974 as a student, when he led Saturday Morning Art Classes for 7th- and 8th-grade students. “Forty years later, I’m still here. I found a home.”

A home was something Hazlerig had been seeking when he enrolled at CCAD. Following high school, he says, “I was in the Marine Corps for four years. Nine months before I started at CCAD I was in Vietnam, and after a year in Vietnam I was looking for something the exact opposite of war. After the Marine Corps, I had to find something that was more like a sanctuary, with smart, intelligent people that weren’t trying to kill each other.”

Hazlerig was uncertain at first whether teaching should become his career, but soon he knew. “I explained things to students and saw the light come on in their heads. I thought that was pretty neat,” he says.

One of his students was Stewart McKissick (CCAD 1979), now chair of the Illustration Department. “He was a favorite teacher of mine,” McKissick says of Hazlerig. “He was at that point relatively new at it, but a good teacher. And I think the reasons were the same as today.”

“Mark is a teacher who is down to earth, direct, but not above you. He works with students on projects; he’s very hands on. He spends many, many hours with them; he doesn’t just teach the classes and leave. He monitors the lab; he’s in there on weekends. He’s walking the walk with the students.”

Not only do Hazlerig’s classes fill up quickly, “but I have to turn down students who want to get in them. His classes are extraordinarily popular,” McKissick says.

Classroom Impact

His lack of loquaciousness relates to a bit of childhood history, Hazlerig says. “I have a brother who is five years older than me, and from the time he got out of bed all he did was talk. Consequently I’m just quiet.”

He can be stern if it’s required. “I was a sergeant in the Marine Corps, and I know how to get loud when I need to. I try to save that for special occasions,” he says.

But trust, rather than bluster, is how he relates to students.

“If you showed you wanted to learn and wanted to do it, he was certainly there,” says Tony Ball (CCAD 1995), who is now co-owner of Tork Inc. in Columbus with Mark Lagergren (CCAD 1993). Tork creates metal and resin sculptural and functional pieces for commercial and individual clients.

Pirate bear from 2011. Photos: Pei Yin Chen (CCAD 2011) 26 SPRING

Pirate bear from 2011. Photo: Pei Yin Chen (CCAD 2011)

Pirate bear from 2011. Photos: Pei Yin Chen (CCAD 2011)

Pirate bear from 2011. Photo: Pei Yin Chen (CCAD 2011)

“I still do stuff I learned from him in the class, making molds and sculpting,” Ball says. “When I was a lab tech, he let me do all the ordering and things, just checking in. He trusted the students; he definitely was looking over my shoulder, but he sure let me think I was doing it. He definitely put in the trust.”

“He was a good influence,” Ball says. “I went back [to CCAD] a while ago to thank him. I wanted to say thanks.”

Did You Know?

Not all of Hazlerig’s life is on display in his classes; his students might not know it, but Hazlerig is a marksman. “I grew up in Kentucky and you shoot everything down there. I was on a rifle and pistol team for two years in the Marine Corps and toured the eastern United States. I taught at Annapolis (the Naval Academy), small-arms training.”

From time to time he goes target shooting with his son, Sam, a Columbus police officer. He and his wife, Phyllis, a nurse, also have another son, Ben, who owns a business in Florida.

What’s Next

Illustration continues to evolve, entering realms ranging from the three-dimensional to the digital. Hazlerig, for example, began last year to teach a course that he developed about using paper in 3D illustration.

“Cutting paper with lasers — it’s pretty cutting-edge stuff, and the learning curve is a big one,” Hazlerig says.

For the standard 3D fabrication process of using polyethylene foams and resins to create objects, “the cost is going up every year and getting cost prohibitive…Paper is affordable. There are people doing very beautiful things.”

This summer he worked on new 3D paper projects. “I’m doing some fashion pieces; one of the projects we’ll work on [for next year’s student exhibition] is a paper dress that would be suitable for Queen Elizabeth I to wear. You can imagine how fancy and intricate that dress would be and imagine making it out of paper. That’s where the laser comes in.”

Having a successful career and winning honors such as the teaching excellence award are gratifying, Halzerig says, but he adds: “My best work walks across the stage and gets their diplomas at the end of the year. They are my work.”

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One Response to “He Works Big: Mark Hazlerig’s Impact on Illustration at CCAD”

  1. Pat Bollack-Brown says:

    I enjoyed his class during my time at CCAD. The only person that I can get a zombie head recipe. Love CCAD a different world.