The print. (Oregon City, Oregon) 1977-1989, April 27, 1983, Page 7, Image 7

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    Since Monday there has been a new art ex­
hibit displayed in the Pauling Center. Upon look­
ing at the framed mandalas, acrylic designs and
sculpture.encased in glass, the casual observer
may assume the artwork was stamped out by an
artist who has had years of practice to perfect
each craft.
Yet this-is not the case. The artwork is being
shown as part of Handicapped Awareness Week
and was created by Roger Hodge, an art student
of only two years at Clackamas Community Col­
Hodge will be graduating in the spring with
an associate of arts degree, and to him his work
is much more than art. The acrylics, sculpture,
and mandalas (circular, pen-and-ink works) are
symbols of achievement, of having met a great
challenge, while giving him a new, positive
outlook toward his future.
Hodge originally did not plan to become an
artist. He first came to the College in 1969 after
graduating from Milwaukie High School. He
later transferred to Oregon State University,
where he received his masters in education.
Shortly after he began teaching as an in­
dustrial arts teacher in the Portland public
schools in 1974, Hodge was diagnosed as hav­
ing MS (Multiple Sclerosis), a disease which crip­
ples and can destroy vital parts of the nervous
system. He was in his early 20’s then. “January
22—that’s one day I’ll never forget,” Hodge said
in remembrance of his diagnosis.
It has now been more than 10 years since
that fateful date. Hodge described the years bet­
ween as being full of ups and downs. In order to
keep from aggravating the disease, he eventually
had to give up teaching.
It wasn’t until two years ago that Hodge’s
life took a dramatic turn. “I decided to get
Handicap proues
‘little inconvenience’
for artist
the time-consuming task of inking in a mandala
(each one takes 56 hours to complete) or the
delicately carved petals of an ivory rose, anyone
can see that these pieces were designed by a
man with the patience to produce beautiful
work. He is a talented, sensitive artist.
As he sits at his desk working on mandala,
Hodge appears to be no different than any other
art student, which he said he likes. “Not
everyone likes to be treated special. Handicap­
ped people are like normal people, there’s just a
little inconvenience,” he explained.
There are days, though, when Hodge said
that he is unable to work. “Some days I can
work, other days I don’t even try to,” he said.
Although he trys to think of himself as an ar­
tist instead of handicapped, Hodge hoped that
his exhibit during Handicapped Awareness
Week (April 25-30) might bolster the confidence
of other students enough to give art a try. “If
somebody sees my work, they might think, ‘If a
handicapped person can do that, maybe I can’,”
he said.
Despite his bout with MS, Hodge, while
seeming modest about his varied ac­
Hodge’s mandala depicts Northwest Coast Indian sym­ complishments, says he “feels very lucky,” and
is quick to give thanks to the College art instruc­
and be with people, and at the same time find a
tors from wh om he has taken classes, including
job that I could handle,” he said. He returned to
Bursheim and Leland John, for giving him the
the College and enrolled in a variety of art
encouragement and confidence to achieve as
classes, including basic design, art history, pain­
much as he has these past two years. Hodge also
ting, sculpting, drawing, and commercial arts.
expresses special thanks to Handicapped
Today Hodge has designed several man­
Specialist Debbie Derr. “Without.her help maybe
dalas depicting symbols of the Northwest Coast
I would not have gone as far as I have,” he said.
Indians and is nearly finished with a wax statue
He added that his wife and son have “given me a
of a hunting dog, which will be cast in bronze.
lot of encouragement.” .
These two aspects, the Northwest Coast Indians
Besides graduation, what else is Hodge
and hunting, are often his inspirations for design­
looking forward to in the future? He plans to use
ing his artwork, which he says, “Touches a cer­
his work to build up a portfolio, and then go out
tain place in my heart or soul.”
in search of a job in either graphic or commercial
Hodge, also works in sculptures of ivory,
• arts. “It gets me out of my house, and back into
plaster, and clay, and has used acrylics for his
the world. To go back into society is my main
commercial design class. Art Department
goal,” he said.
Chairperson Norm Bursheim has descibed him
Hodge is confident that he will find a job
as “a fast learner.” Indeed, for a man who claims
somewhere. As for those who doubt that han­
to have “just doodled” prior to taking the Col­
dicapped people can lead normal lives, he said
lege’s art classes, it is clear that Hodge has
“I might not be able to do what they’re doing, but
stumbled upon a hidden talent.
then again I might be able to do something they
“Bursheim says you’re always better than
can’t do.”
you think you are, and if you just try you might
How many students can say they know how
surprise yourself,” he said. “I did surprise
to sculpt, paint and draw like a professional in
only two year’s timé?
In looking .at Hodge’s work, whether it be
Roger Hodge
Story by Shelley Ball
Photos by Dave VanAcker
Wednesday April 27, 1983
WAX FIGURE OF DOG is ready to be cast in bronze.
Page 7