I’ve been making Art since I was a little boy growing up in New Jersey. My first installation piece was a wall of dinosaur drawings I put up in my bedroom at the age of 7 years old. My interest in Art continued through adolescence resulting in a Bachelor of Science degree from James Madison University with a major in Art and a Master’s degree in Studio Art also from James Madison University. During the first five years after receiving my Master’s degree I was a practicing artist but then as a favor to a friend I agreed to substitute as a high school Art Teacher while my friend recovered from an auto accident. As a substitute teacher I discovered that I enjoyed the energy of the classroom and consequently I returned to James Madison University to complete all the classes necessary to become a certified Secondary Art Educator. My first teaching position was at Colonial Beach High School in Colonial Beach, Virginia and that is where I remained for 32 years. Three years ago I retired from teaching to resume being a full time artist and quickly discovered my home study/studio was too small to accommodate my present needs, so I had a studio built behind my house and that is where I now make all of my artwork.
As an artist I believe I should employ the tools and techniques of my chosen medium to convey intention as well as to engage the viewer’s eye. A piece of art should be interesting to look at and should provide something to think about. Both of these purposes are important to me while I am creating an image. As I explore an idea I enjoy combining representational subjects with abstraction to expand the possibilities of visual expression. My prints contain narrative components but also invite comparisons and contrasts of the subject with other abstract elements in the composition. Sometimes these combinations are allegorical and sometimes they are purely visual. I encourage observers to come to their own conclusions and I favor loose associations over structured symbolism.
Texture (both visual and conceptual) is important to me as I find variations in each create a more interesting visual and intellectual experience. The digital print processes which I use to create my images provide unique opportunities to manipulate size, texture, color, and transparency that are unavailable in any other print medium. Sometimes I combine traditional and digital printing techniques to produce my work. My images are printed using archival inks on 100% Cotton Rag Somerset Paper and generally are produced in an edition of ten prints.
Recently I have begun to hand bind my prints to create Artist Books which provide an extended dialogue of content which is not possible in a single print. Contemporary artists are always employing new forms of media in unexpected ways and the idea of “The Book as Art” is certainly a prime example. The book has been transformed into an aesthetic object to be appreciated for more than its informational or literary content. Some of my books are fairly straight forward narrative structures containing images and a story which I have created. Others are a combination of a container form and a book form,resulting in a Three Dimensional / Two Dimensional Hybrid.
In these Sculptural Artist Books multiple aspects of craft, spatial presence, narrative content, and expressive imagery are employed. I’ve found that I enjoy the complexity of these projects and currently I’m working on several ideas which will continue the exploration of this format.
Stop by Main Street Arts to see Robert Hunter’s printmaking in our current exhibition, “Small Works 2015 – A National Juried Exhibition” and view more of his artwork at www.roberthunterart.com
Take a look at our previous Inside the Artist’s Studio blog post by printmaker and encaustic artist Constance Mauro.