Developing artistic abilities everyday

By Gus Bode

In the far room of SIUC’s University Museum, four white walls are covered with portraits that show Bob Hageman’s interest in the artistic world.

A native of Danville, Hageman said he has always had a passion for art. It started with sculpting and eventually turned to photography. Now he is experimenting with new and inventive ways to combine his photography with different ingredients of his life to form “photograph assemblages.”

From Aug. 21 through Sept. 7, Hageman’s latest exhibit called “Quixotic” is on display at the University Museum. The exhibit portrays a m�lange of pieces that range from alabaster statues to Hageman’s latest creation, the “Diorama” or photograph assemblage.


Director of Museum Studies Dona Bachman said Hageman is well known in southern Illinois, which is why the exhibit was extended from the summer semester to the fall semester. Bachman said Hageman, like many other photographers, has the ability to capture a picture that most of us deem insignificant and make it interesting, such as a series of photographs Hageman took of fire hydrants all over southern Illinois.

“Whoever thinks of fire hydrants until suddenly a photographer catches them?” Bachman said. “All of a sudden they take on kind of a whimsical flavor and they are just quite charming.”

Bachman said Hageman captures exotic photos from all over the world that give people the ability to see exhibits from a country people may not have ever visited.

“He has wonderful variety in his exhibit,” Bachman said. “He calls it ‘Quixotic’ to kind of indicate that variety and diversity of his exhibit.”

For Hageman, art has always been a hobby, never a way to support a family.

Hageman said his interest and knowledge of photography and art has helped him in his career.

After spending three years in the Air Force, Hageman worked for 26 years at both the University of Illinois at Springfield and also SIUC.


Hageman was a director of micro-graphics and word processing at the school of medicine in Springfield. He has also done advertising and publicity for events at the Shryock Auditorium and worked in admissions and records here at SIU.

“I’ve always tried to balance between having a career and doing art,” Hageman said. “Now that I have retired, I am happy to be a full-time artist.”

One of his latest pieces, “Cadillac Ranch Assemblage” involves using a photograph he took in Amarillo, Texas of ten Cadillac’s standing upright in a row and placed some toy cars from his collection in front of the picture to create a diorama scene.

Hageman said “photograph assemblages” is the newest idea he is exploring with his photography in his quest to cover so many different areas of art.

“Static is something that I have never related well to,” Hageman said. “Maybe it is a restlessness that always keeps me running to change.”

While his exhibit is on display, Hageman said he hopes that viewers enjoy both his more serious images and also his images that evoke a more light-hearted attitude.

“I really did want people to smile a little and have some fun when they left this exhibit,” Hageman said.

Eugene Clark can be reached at [email protected] or at 536-3311 ext. 275.