The son of a Christian educator, Hoving grew up in Lynden, Wash., an area of fertile farm ground.
“I worked in the fields from age 6. Strawberries. Raspberries. Beans. It was a good experience,” he said. “You learn how to work. A terribly important lesson. There was work to be done and you did it.”
As a serious student and academician he never paid much attention to, nor tried his hand at any of the arts. But as an educator and frequent traveler, he began to visit museums and realized that he was drawn to the dimensional aspect of sculpture.
When Paul Moore was named Artist in Residence at OU in 1997, Hoving began to sit in on classes. It was there, working in clay, that he discovered his talent for sculpting, and, in particular, his ability to capture an individual’s facial features and spirit.
His first project was to sit before a mirror and to sculpt his own likeness. To his own amazement, he said, “it looked like me.”
His “most seen” work is the bust of former OU President Paul Sharp which sits in the entryway to the Sharp Concert Hall. He also did the bust of Savoie Lottinville at the OU Press.
Hoving is also proud of the 6-foot by 12-foot bas relief which is in the entry to the auditorium of the school in his hometown in Washington.
“I said I would do the work if I could put my father’s face on one of the figures,” he said.
He accomplished that with an artscape of a grandfather, mother and child, and a teen in cap and gown to symbolize education passing from generation to generation. Busts, often done from snapshots, are a favorite.
“I would love to do more commissioned work,” he said.
Their home includes many pieces ranging from a large piece named “Southwestern Woman” to a small figure of youthful Doris Eaton Travis. The sculpture was done from the photo on the cover of her memoir.