Christie Hackler grew up in the wide open spaces of Oklahoma where the pared-down landscape gave her a wild sense of freedom. She loves the big sky and the flat land, the hot sun and the wild wind. These earthly elements arouse her feral enthusiasm for all things challenging, hence her interest in metal. Its strength holds a sense of permanence which she found comforting after the unexpected death of her son Thomas in 1996. After this catastrophic event, life took on new meaning. Seeking ways to put her life back together she chose to finish her BFA at the University of Central Oklahoma. Focusing on metal, Hackler creates sculptures, vessels, and wall hangings. Her use of vitreous enamel brings bright colors and a preciousness to the metal.
The pieces she creates become like shrines marking good and bad moments, silently imparting the anecdotes of trophies and scars in her life. Her interest in butterflies stems from a moment she shared with her son in the fall of 1996 when they were enveloped in a kaleidoscope of migrating monarchs. It was a spontaneous moment that could not be created, only enjoyed for a few fleeting seconds. This experience triggered her to use the imagery of the butterfly to convey her message of transcending boundaries. She recognized that the butterfly was not concerned with its past or future. It did not hold onto which it used to be, nor is it bothered by how it became a butterfly. Instead, the butterfly accepts its new state and does not linger at the chrysalis. It simply takes flight.
Hackler’s work has been shown at The Oklahoma City Myriad Botanical Gardens and various galleries in Oklahoma. A public installation of her steel butterflies can be seen at The Oklahoma City Zoo, where she works closely with a group of concerned citizens to help bring awareness to the importance of planting milkweed.
To watch an interview with Christie Hackler, click here.