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Arts in Milwaukee

A Public Service Of Milwaukee Artist Resource Network

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  • “Scrape Warrior”Scrape Warrior

    Leather Assemblage

  • “Misfits”Misfits

    Mixed Media Assemblage

  • “Sunshine”Sunshine

    Mixed Media Assemblage

  • “Goldie”Goldie

    Mixed Media Assemblage

  • “Mask II”Mask II

    Mixed Media Assemblage

  • “Looker”Looker

    Mixed Media Assemblage

  • “Head Hunter”Head Hunter

    Mixed Media Assemblage

  • “Old Warrior”Old Warrior

    Mixed Media Assemblage

  • “Pop-eyed”Pop-eyed

    Mixed Media Assemblage

  • “Ayoka”Ayoka

    African Women with African Fabric, braids and beaded jewelry

Rhonda Gatlin-Hayes

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artist bio

Rhonda Gatlin-Hayes is a self-taught artist. As a child, she drew birds, butterflies, flowers, all things of nature, people, crocheted and experimented with fabrics & found objects to create something new and fun out of broken or disregarded items.

Rhonda’s first major project as a was a three-story Victorian dollhouse made of cardboard boxes, toilet paper rolls, dollhouse miniatures, carpet & fabric scraps left over from projects her mother had completed. She used anything she could find to beautify her new home.

Upon her mother’s death, who was an avid seamstress and quilter, she inherited lots of sewing notions, buttons, various types of fabrics and many different craft items. Her creativity re-emerged. She is inspired by the idea that broken, devalued, disregarded and unwanted items can be re-purposed and re-elevated through art making.

Rhonda’s detailed assemblages and collages depict whimsical but lifelike, playful works of art incorporating fabric, leather, beads, glass, wood, screws, nails, buttons, wire, metal, shells, rocks, minerals, bone, string, paper, feathers, nuts & bolts, anything that can be repurposed to create three-dimensional works of art from these inherited and found objects.

Celebrating the strength of the human spirit, these mask creations carry the message that no one should be taken at face value, but that everyone should be looked at more closely for what lies beneath. Fascinated by the uniqueness and individuality of others, Rhonda’s body of work is the results of a creative motivation which is fueled by what is behind the “Masks We Wear.”

artist statement

As a self-taught artist, I’m inspired by the idea that broken, devalued, disregarded and unwanted items can be re-elevated and re-purposed. These detailed assemblages and collages depicting whimsical, lifelike, and playful images become 3D creations that unite unlikely objects that come together and show the beauty in their differences. This work is an examination of different forms inspired, impassioned by individuality and the uniqueness of others. These representational masks depict and carry the message that everyone has worth and that no one should be taken at face value. Fascinated by the uniqueness and individuality of others, this body of work is the results of my creative motivation which is fueled by what is behind the “Masks We Wear.”

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