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Artist Interview: Laura Hunt

Learn More About Our Represented Artist

Q&A With The Artist

What are your ear­li­est mem­o­ries relat­ed to art?
  I remem­ber cov­er­ing a page with thick cray­on col­ors of all kinds, cov­er­ing that with black cray­on, then scratch­ing through the black with a tooth­pick to reveal the col­or under­neath. It was magical!
How and when did you start becom­ing an artist yourself?
  I began seri­ous­ly in my late 20s between my first son’s baby and tod­dler stages. I cre­at­ed my own stitch­ery designs, embroi­dered them on stretched fab­ric, and sold them at art fairs. As I advanced, I moved to cre­at­ing fab­ric ban­ners and wall hang­ings out of old blue jeans, vin­tage lace and found objects. This led to a show at The Peach Tree in Fred­er­icks­burg, TX, where I was paired with a won­der­ful pot­tery artist for a two-artist show.
What was the evo­lu­tion like toward find­ing your cur­rent voice and visu­al vocabulary?
  A con­sid­er­able part of my adult life was spent in mar­ket­ing and graph­ic design while rais­ing a fam­i­ly. After my hus­band died in 2013, I left the mar­ket­ing world to immerse myself in my own art, which served as both grief ther­a­py and ener­giz­ing agent. It was clear to me that now was the time to fol­low the dream. I retired in 2015, but took on the new chal­lenge of devel­op­ing a pro­fes­sion­al stu­dio prac­tice. Thank­ful­ly, I had spent over 30 years in graph­ic design and mar­ket­ing, hon­ing skills that would serve me well as an artist.

Since the begin­ning of 2019, I have focused on fig­ure and por­trait paint­ing with a con­tem­po­rary bent. After sev­er­al years of cre­at­ing non-objec­tive abstract work, I respond­ed to the insis­tent tug at the sleeve to cre­ate a new body of work, one that would have at its core the human fig­ure and the uni­ver­sal sto­ries it could tell. They tell of my attempts to under­stand and explore human rela­tion­ships and emo­tion, social aware­ness and empathy.
What is your process like?
  I begin by dig­i­tal­ly edit­ing my pho­to­graph­ic image, empha­siz­ing con­trast and sim­pli­fy­ing shapes. The result becomes my ref­er­ence. I work with acrylic paint on my favorite sur­face, cra­dled wood pan­els. I like their crisp cor­ners, and how they feel like con­tain­ers hold­ing some­thing mys­te­ri­ous and beau­ti­ful. After apply­ing ges­so to the pan­el, I cov­er it with orange, turquoise, metal­lic cop­per or what­ev­er feels right. That lay­er influ­ences the over­all pres­ence of the paint­ing, peek­ing through gaps to ener­gize the work. Pat­terned paper scraps or torn vin­tage maps ani­mate the pic­ture plane. Out­lines and the sim­pli­fi­ca­tion of details lend a sym­bol­ic qual­i­ty to my fig­ures. And scrap­ing paint right across an almost com­plet­ed work is anoth­er tech­nique I use to shift the sub­ject from spe­cif­ic indi­vid­ual to uni­ver­sal archetype.
Is there any­thing from your artist state­ment that you wish to expound on, that you nor­mal­ly don’t have the chance to discuss?
  I can’t think of any­thing, but I’m hap­py to respond to any ques­tions you may have.
What do you try to con­trol in your sur­faces, and what do you leave to chance?
  I main­tain con­trol of my pan­el for­mats, the tex­tures and my sub­ject mat­ter, but once the draw­ing is in place, there is a dance between me and the paint. Once I have what appears to be a fin­ished piece, I begin to “mess it up,” as a friend describes this part of my process. It’s a risky blend of plan­ning and ran­dom­ness. I respond to the ran­dom­ness with some inten­tion, then I apply more ran­dom­ness. At this stage, a lot is left to chance until chance and I are partners.
Where do you see your work going from here?
  I want as many peo­ple as pos­si­ble to see my work and be fed by it. I see myself devel­op­ing the style I am work­ing in so that it’s my own per­son­al sig­na­ture, rec­og­niz­able to any­one who has seen it. I have influ­ences, cer­tain­ly, like David Park, David Bates, Cather­ine Kehoe, Alice Neel, and oth­ers. I want my own ver­sion of their dis­tinc­tive styles. And It would­n’t hurt to gain income from the sale of my work.
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