Walking on a Tightrope
John Hachmeister was born in North Central Kansas in 1949. Though he grew up on a ranch near Natoma, Kansas, part of each year was spent living with his maternal grandmother in Chicago. It was during these yearly visits to Chicago that Hachmeister was first exposed to sculpture, both modern and ancient. In 1969, while attending the University of Kansas (KU), he changed his major from psychology to art. He became a research assistant to Elden Tefft, the founder of the International Sculpture Center, and exhibited a monumental outdoor sculpture during a National Sculpture Conference.
Hachmeister received a BFA from KU in 1972 while working as a commercial artist in Kansas City. In 1974, he received an MA from Kansas State University with coursework in iron casting completed under Julius Schmidt at the University of Iowa. He then operated a fine art foundry in Kansas and created jewelry in New Mexico before purchasing 160 acres in eastern Kansas in 1978. On this property he constructed and continues to maintain studio spaces for the creation of ceramic, cast metal, wood and mixed media sculpture. In addition, he has created major earthworks on this site.
While continuing to work as a studio artist, Hachmeister completed coursework and received an MFA from Kansas State University in 1986. In 1988 he formed a corporation and purchased the Garden of Eden, an early twentieth-century grassroots art environment located in Lucas, Kansas. He was the first president of the corporation and continues to serve as co-curator of the site. In addition he has served as president of the Kansas Sculptors Association and presently serves on the executive board of the Arts Incubator in Kansas City and as a board member of the Fred Smith Wisconsin Concrete Sculpture Park.
Hachmeister is an Associate Professor at the University of Kansas and previously taught at the Kansas City Art Institute. He has shown artwork in more than one hundred exhibitions including a mid-career retrospective at the Leedy-Voulkos Art Center in Kansas City, MO and has also completed a liquid steel performative piece at Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, NJ.