Peter Hassen was born wearing congenital art goggles. He sees the world differently than most people do.

Where others see wildlands, Hassen sees the potential for guerrilla art installations. Where some see beach, Hassen sees a template for spreading delight. A local multimedia artist whose “Cycles 1, 2, and 3” sculptures are featured in the public art program on display in the Sonoma Plaza this summer, Hassen sees the ordinary things around him through his uniquely stylized prism, and has done since he was a very small boy.

“My parents didn’t know what to make of me,” Hassen, 58, said. “They wondered what planet I came from and why.”

As a 10-year old boy, Hassen was already thinking about how to reinterpret the objects he encountered. “It was my dream since I was a child to see these monumental sculptures I saw in natural history museums from ancient civilizations—cheek to jowl with each other inside stuffy rooms—out in the wilderness,” Hassen said.

So as an adult, Hassen made it happen. He went to England to learn how to cast stone and then made facsimiles of iconic sculptures to install on public lands across five states. Under cover of darkness over a period of a few years, he and his team dragged the six-hundred pound pieces to remote corners of national forests and installed them to surprise passers-by.

“The objective was to trigger delight,” Hassen said. “That was the whole payback.” Those stately sculptures keep watch still at the edge of deep canyons and among ancient trees, astonishing passing backcountry trekkers.

Peter Hassen is an American artist based in Sonoma, California.  His work revolves around themes of nature, science, and spirituality.  Working in multiple media, such as painting, sculpture, photography, video, and printmaking, Hassen seeks to
create dialogue between these themes, and raise questions about our societies, cultures and their commonalities.

Read the article by Kate Williams in the Index-Tribune.