After receiving his BFA in 2021 from SCAD, Hawkins worked out of the former motel space and made money from the sale of his artworks (he’s done studio sales and also shown work at GR Gallery in New York City).
“I had made a good chunk of money off some sales about this time last year, and was looking for something to do with it. And the timing was right,” said Hawkins who designed and fabricated the space himself.
“I feel like sculpture is what kind of gave me the background to do this right now on my own. I’m very familiar with power tools and construction and building stuff like that.”
He opened Hawkins HQ on Aug. 5, 2023, with Canadian artist Dexter Barker-Glenn’s exhibition “Wolves” featuring sculptures the artist said “are designed to fit in the trunk of a 2007 Ford Ranger and travel cross country from Montreal, Quebec, to Atlanta, Georgia.”
Hawkins says Hawkins HQ was inspired by the Japanese art collective Mé which repurposes spaces into art installations to question our perceptions of the physical world.
As word about his exhibitions gets out, Hawkins says that he has seen more and more people showing up at the gallery’s openings even though Hawkins HQ is — at least geographically speaking — not exactly in the thick of it.
“We’re not in a popping arts district of Atlanta,” Hawkins admitted. “But we are right off the highway, which makes it easy for people to get to us.”
Hawkins says he “just absolutely fell in love with the city the longer and longer I stayed,” attracted by “the crazy diversity and the food that you can get here; the flavors, the people. The art scene has grown and grown ever since I got here in 2017 and it feels like it’s getting to the point where it’s about to be something and hopefully, we can continue that momentum.”
“The reason for opening a gallery is kind of just seeing the rise of the Atlanta art scene. And having artists that I’m friends with, that I’ve worked with, who aren’t getting that representation that everyone else is and thinking, ‘Well, you know, I could just open a gallery and kind of do that myself.’”
And as Hawkins builds out more of the space, he said there is potential for a gallery expansion. Hawkins HQ’s next show, opening Jan. 27, features artist Jackson Markovic’s photographs of Atlanta dancers.
“Being a smaller gallery square footage-wise, it doesn’t take a lot of work to fill the space. So you can still have a full solo show and try a new idea and not have to invest 7 or 8 months into building the show. So the small space is to the benefit of everyone.”
In fact, in October as part of Atlanta Art Week Hawkins is planning an exhibition that will be a single work.
Hawkins says he likes to give artists the chance to really push “a space to try a new idea and experiment.”
“Show Me Love: Jackson Markovic”
Opens 6-9 p.m. Jan. 27. Through Feb. 25. Gallery hours by appointment. Hawkins HQ, 2865 Old Hapeville Road SW, Unit 18, Atlanta. hawkinsheadquarters.com, firstname.lastname@example.org