As the application period for the 2018 Individual Artist Awards (IAA) nears its March 1 closing date, we caught up with two-time recipient Ben Huff of Juneau.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received as an artist?
Artists don’t only make things, they make things happen.
Who is your favorite Alaska artist and what do you admire about that person?
I admire any artist who works with that fine balance of humility and ambition. Living and working in Alaska can be difficult, and an artist who has figured out a way to make it happen on their own terms — that’s inspiring. Recently, I had the opportunity to work with both Christofer Taylor and Christy NaMee Eriksen (both past Individual Artist Award recipients) on two separate books with my independent publishing imprint Ice Fog Press. Collaborating with them, and helping realize their art on the printed page was an honor, and extremely gratifying. My ‘favorite artist’ is constantly in flux, as is the output and evolution of all of us as artists. The poet John Haines stands tall, for me, in commitment and uniqueness in voice. But, as I said, I respect anyone who can sustain, and who commits their life to their art.
What was the happiest moment of your life as an artist?
Having my first book, The Last Road North, published was a big marker in my career. That body of work was helped early on by a Project Award from Rasmuson Foundation. I can see, clearly, how that early support of The Last Road North was instrumental in the work’s success. Further, the success of The Last Road North enabled me to move confidently forward with future projects, believing that being an artist was my path.
What impact did the Individual Artist Award have on your art?
My Project Award in 2008, and later my Fellowship in 2016, were a tremendous help monetarily, but more important they added validity to the life I’ve chosen. Being part of the Rasmuson Foundation family of recipients is an important part of being an artist in Alaska, and knowing that others take seriously the endeavor of making art here.
Time is running out! We hope Ben’s story inspires you to pursue a creative project of your own. Finish your Individual Artist Award application today.