Artist 2 Artist With Jim Hittinger

Updated: Jul 5, 2020

Rosalux artist Frank Meuschke talks with fellow Rosalux artist Jim Hittinger about studying art, working in Minneapolis, and takes a deep dive into his recent work.

Jim Hittinger

You grew up in Michigan, was it suburban, city, or rural?

It was the suburbs of Detroit, not far from the city. Metro Detroit is massive, ridiculous sprawl. If you were to drive from downtown Minneapolis to the forest, if you drove that same distance in Detroit, it would still be six lane highways, strip mall hell for a while longer. So, yeah, I grew up in the Metro Detroit maze.

And that created who you are today?

(Laughs) I guess so, yeah.

Did you have a sense when you were younger that you wanted to study art?

I always wanted to be an artist. Honestly, earlier than I can remember, I was always drawing. It was always my thing when I was a little kid that I was good at drawing -that was my thing. You know some people’s parents are like “We’re not wasting money getting you an art degree!” But my parents were always like “Yeah, you should go to art school. You should be an artist.” So, yeah, I was always gonna do this.

That seems to me to be a less common story. Why do you think they were so supportive?

Yeah. Well my parents are academics. My dad is a philosophy professor and my mom has been an administrator at various schools and non-profits. So my parents are into the liberal arts I guess. They were always cool with it.

That’s great that you had that support.

My parents are interested in art. My family would go to museums; we’d go to the Detroit Institute of Arts and look at the collection on a Saturday.

Where did you go to undergraduate school?

Wayne State University. It’s a state school in inner city Detroit. It’s a bit like the U of M Twin Cities, where there’s a little nugget just inside the city that’s the campus -so that’s where I went to school.

Is it a school that is known for art study?

Yes, there is actually a really strong art program there. I don’t know that there was anyone who went there that is super famous, but Arthur Danto went to school there in, like, the late forties. The printmaking area had some of his old woodblocks and editioned some of them in my senior year.

I had no idea he was an artist.

He is better known for his theory and philosophy stuff, but he was also a printmaker.

It’s an intellectual pursuit, printmaking…

Yeah, I guess so. That’s why I don’t have the patience for it, not smart enough I guess. (Laughs)

I did not have the patience for it myself. Did you have to read his writings while you were a student?