of an artist
Leon has fascination
for the late Harlan Hubbard
statue of the late author-artist is striking
(September 2007) The idea of sustainable living
has now been sustained through art. The legacy and lifestyle of Harlan
and Anna Hubbard of Trimble County, Ky., has been immortalized in a
sculpture of Harlan by John Leon, an artist from the Cincinnati area.
The Hubbards made their life in Payne Hollow, located on the Kentucky
side of the Ohio River just downstream from Hanover College. They lived
a simple life without electricity or money. Relying on bartering and
using found and self-created objects to make their lives
easier, they sustained themselves for more than 30 years at Payne Hollow.
by Don Ward
Leon by his sculpture
of Harlan Hubbard.
He wanted to make his life a work of art,
said Bill Caddell, a retired librarian from the Frankfort, Ind., Community
Caddell, a Hanover College alumnus, first met the Hubbards during his
sophomore year in 1962. It was a wonderful experience to go down
there, he said.
Caddell helped the Hubbards by finding them some of the things they
needed and could not make for themselves, such as watercolor paper and
masonite, Caddell said.
The Hubbards simple life inspired many people throughout the years,
Its a powerful statement a man can make, living your life
the way you want to live it, Leon said. It appeals to me.
Leon became interested in Hubbard after hearing on of Caddells
lectures about the Hubbards way of life. There was an ice storm
during the program, and the facility lost power.
by Don Ward
Leons sculpture of Harlan
Hubbard was a hit at last springs
symposium at Hanover College.
Leon became interested in the
Hubbards and their way of life after
attending a lecture about
them in Cincinnati.
I talked about Harlan by candlelight, Caddell
said, recalling that evening.
Caddell and Leon spoke afterward. Caddell suggested that Leon make a
statue of Hubbard. After picking up a couple of library books and gathering
several different photos of Hubbard, Leon began his work.
People that knew Harlan would come and give advice on the piece,
he said. Completing the piece took about two years. Caddell purchased
a bronze cast of the statue.
Leon unveiled his gypsum statue at the program on simple living and
the Hubbards called A River Way of Life, presented by the
Rivers Institute at Hanover College in March of this year. Many people
who had known Hubbard during their lifetimes recognized the likeness
of the statue to its subject, he said. The statue captured a view of
Hubbard from just below the waist and up. Hubbard is shown with his
hand on one hip and a hoe over his shoulder. The piece tries to illustrate
the ruggedness and freedom of the Hubbards simple life, Leon said.
Harlan Hubbard would be happy for John to create his image,
Leon is a sculptor who specializes in bronze, wood and stone. Many of
his pieces are inspired by faces, jazz and cubism, he said. His work
is represented in three galleries, Heike Pickett Gallery in Versailles,
Kentucky, Fifth Street Gallery in Cincinnati, and Bryant Galleries in
For more information, contact John Leon
at (513) 777-1862 or visit his website at: http://johnleon.com.
Back to September 2007