Brad Hook Encaustic Mixed Media Art

Brad Hook

Art has always played an important part in my life. I graduated from the Ray Vogue School of Design, in Chicago with a degree in commercial art and for the next 25 years owned a graphic design studio in Libertyville, IL. While graphic design was my bread and butter I was always looking for something to get my hands dirty. I started working with clay focusing on hand built textured pieces. I still make pottery in my home studio, but the last few years my focus shifted to collage and then encaustics. I have always been directed towards surface, materials and process. Like my pottery, encaustics give me the opportunity to introduce texture, and like collage, I can embed paper and found objects into the wax. With encaustics, layers are applied and removed through a process of creation and destruction that build the varied surfaces that reminds me of the rare beauty of imperfections and richness of wear and life. 

Member of:

The International Encaustic Artists (IEA). A professional artists’ organization that seeks to raise the level of excellence in fine art encaustic work.


What is encaustic?

Encaustic is a paint composed of beeswax, damar resin (crystalized tree sap) and pigments. The term “Encaustic” is often used to describe both the paint itself, and the method for using it. Encaustic paint is applied molten to a absorbent surface. Unlike other paints, encaustic is never wet or dry – it goes from a liquid to solid state and back again in seconds. Layers and colors are applied and fused, with some layers being partially or completely obscured adding depth and texture. 

Encaustic painting was practiced by Greek artists as far back as the 5th century and continued into the 7th century when it was replaced by tempera which was cheaper, faster and less demanding. Until recently it was considered a lost art.

How to care for your encaustic artwork.

Encaustics should be cared for as you would for any fine art piece. Work should be displayed at room temperature, out of direct sunlight and away from fireplaces. Indoor environments, even very warm ones, are not usually hot enough to melt wax, though they could make the wax soft. It takes at least 160 degrees to bring wax to a molten state, and probably a little bit more than that to actually cause it to move. Encaustics can be wiped clean with a soft cloth. If the piece is especially dirty, it can be wiped with a water-dampened cloth.


Cars are the greatest hazard. Heat from the sun is intensified through car windows and can easily melt the wax.