Professor David Hamlow, 50 years old, is one of the several faces one would see while walking through Minnesota State University, Mankato’s campus, especially within the art department.
Those unfamiliar with his classes and artwork are sure to notice his passion for teaching and creating art after just meeting him.
“Art is everywhere you look. It’s part of everything you do—your clothes, your room, your car,” Hamlow said.
David Hamlow primarily teaches Art 160, an introduction course that teaches students about the importance of visual culture and art as a whole. Hamlow has taught various other classes, such as drawing, but his favorite class to teach will forever be Art 160. He explains that this class offers him a chance to reach a large number of students throughout different ages and with different goals in life.
“I enjoy reaching students who don’t have a previous experience with art,” he said. “People make more aesthetic decisions than they think they do. I’m not making people interested in aesthetics, I’m reminding them that they are already interested in it and that they just don’t realize it.”
Hamlow’s love for art goes a long way. He practices many different mediums of art, but his favorite to make is under the category of installation art. This form of art consists of the idea of transforming the perception of space, often times a room.
“My favorite work is probably my wall-based collages right now, but I’m always excited about any kind of sculpture that I’m making,” he said.
Hamlow also likes to focus on creating art from recycled trash from his own house. For instance, he is currently working on collages he has made from the bags of dog and cat food.
Although he thoroughly enjoys teaching now, Hamlow didn’t always plan for this to be his occupation. After receiving his undergraduate in art from the college of Gustavus, he spent a large amount of his time working in a warehouse for a charity while making art in his free time, until eventually deciding to get his graduate degree at the University of Minnesota.
“It got to a point where physically I couldn’t do that kind of work anymore and at first it was what can I do? So, maybe I’ll go back and get a degree and teach art and once I started doing it I really liked working with students,” he said.
Hamlow is very appreciative of the art department that is provided at MNSU. He explained that the department is very special and unlike art departments from other colleges. A wide array of art classes are offered to students at MNSU that are not common at other colleges, such as the installation art program here. Another factor that makes this department stand apart from other college’s is the “enthusiastic” and “supportive” faculty, Hamlow said.
Apart from the campus, Hamlow also loves the town of Mankato itself.
“The area is just a beautiful place to live in in terms of nature,” he said.
When not making or teaching art, Hamlow can be seen jogging the Red Jacket near Rasmussen Park. On a rainy days or away from nature, he can be found at the local record store, Tune Town, riffling through records searching for a vinyl of his favorite band, The Talking Heads.
Despite his love for the city of Mankato, Hamlow actually lives in the small town of Good Thunder, which is about ten miles south of Mankato. There he lives with his wife, who is also an art professor at MNSU, and his two black standard poodles.
Before living in Good Thunder, Hamlow grew up and graduated high school in the small town of Montevideo in west Minnesota. Since then, he has lived St. Peter, Minneapolis and even San Diego.
Hamlow, who has been strongly influenced by art throughout his life, believes that it is now more important than ever for people, especially young adults, to study art.
“We have access to more diversity than ever,” he said. “We are more aware of other cultures more than we have ever been because of the internet and I feel that art is a great way to understand other cultures and how people are the same to us and to respect how they are different to us.”