October 24, 2014

Meet the (cover) artist: Denise Hocking


Denise Hocking's "Birch Grove" on Bravo
Visual art and classical music have long been a matched pair—just look at the paintings, lithographs, and sculptural busts that adorn most concert halls. For the third consecutive year, the RPO teamed up with Rochester Contemporary Art Center (RoCo) to bring modern visual art into the concert experience by choosing artworks to be featured on the cover of Bravo, the official program magazine of the RPO. These works of art came courtesy of the gallery’s annual 6X6 exhibition, which invites anyone to create a piece of art on a six-by-six inch square space, using whatever medium they prefer.

Back in July, the RPO announced the eight winners of the 6X6 exhibition Bravo Award, chosen anonymously from a collection of over 6,700 pieces on display. These eight artists represent all walks of life, from a local scientist to a California artist and a Pennsylvania high school student. Throughout the 2014-2015 RPO season, we plan to feature these artists on our blog in the month that their artwork will be featured. For the fall cover, RPO staff members selected Denise Hocking’s Birch Grove, a fall scene using acrylics. Read more about Hocking here, and stay tuned to the RPO blog once a month for more behind-the-scenes on the Bravo cover artists and their winning art!

Personal: Denise Hocking of Rochester, N.Y.
Denise Hocking of Rochester, N.Y.


Occupation: Professor and Scientist at the University of Rochester.

Artistic background: The pursuits of art and science have many similarities; at the heart of both are discovery and communication. I believe that my work as an amateur artist deepens my skills as a scientist and vice versa.

How did you develop the concept for your art? Trees are one of my favorite subjects. To me, they represent nature, strength, beauty, longevity, and the connection between heaven and earth. I chose to use acrylics in this piece because of their intensity. I wanted to capture a scene in which the viewer unexpectedly discovers a grove of birch trees dancing happily and freely, releasing their autumn leaves gently to the ground below and reveling in their beauty.

What inspires your creativity? I love the 6x6 show because anyone and everyone can be an artist for a day.

What are your favorite styles of music?
Delta blues and Dixieland jazz. Two of my favorite musicians are Rory Block and Pete Fountain. Pete Fountain’s Dixieland style has been a favorite of my family for generations. Rory Block is a contemporary master of the acoustic blues guitar.

Do you have any musical talents?
I played a variety of musical instruments in high school and college, including the French horn, clarinet and bassoon.

My favorite things to do in Rochester are: I enjoy dog agility training with my whippets, bird watching on Lake Ontario, playing golf with my friends, and attending art festivals around Rochester.

Favorite RPO memories? All of Renee Fleming’s performances with the RPO.


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