Voilà our interview with Shawn Hunt, our Featured Artist for May! You may have seen our short-and-sweet post about Shawn last week, but here you'll find a fuller discussion of Shawn's day-to-day, his family of artists, and the nexus of his cultural identities. Check it out!
SAD: How are you today? Where are you, and what can you see?
SH: I’m great. Really happy. I’m in my drawing/jewelry studio in Roberts Creek on the Sunshine Coast. I can look out my window and see trees and sky. Eagles and Ravens are flying overhead. My wife and my 8 month old son are downstairs listening to Bob Marley and banging on pots and pans.
SAD: What are you currently working on?
SH: I’m working on a drawing right now for a painting commission. It’s a Mask Face Portrait, a series I have been working on for a while. I just finished a large 5 x 7 foot painting that is still sitting on my easel. I’m sitting with it for a few days until I decide it’s finished. Then I will sign it and start preparing a canvas for the new drawing. At my carving studio I am working on an ever-expanding sculpture carved out of red and yellow cedar. That one is a secret. I haven’t decided what I’m going to do with it yet. It could turn out to be an installation.
SAD: How do you conceive of your identity as an artist?
SH: I’ve always been an artist. I realize that now. It really wasn’t a choice I made. Making art is all I have ever really done. It makes me incredibly happy. It can be challenging at times, but I’m totally obsessed with it. Being an artist to me means utter and total freedom. Freedom to think, work, and live in any way I desire. It’s a life that I am lucky to have, I don’t take it for granted so I work very hard. My dad and my brother are artists as well. It’s a family thing. We get together on a regular basis and share ideas.
SAD: What social and global themes present themselves in your work?
SH: One of the main goals for me in creating art is to show the world that Heiltsuk art and Heiltsuk people are not a relic of the past or a display in an Anthropology Museum. We are a thriving innovative people and culture. My work, although deeply rooted in tradition, speaks of the present and the future. It is ancient and modern at the same time. At times I will speak to specific Heiltsuk mythology. More often I will speak to broader, more universal themes. I am always searching for answers and information. I do mine a lot of information from art history, both western art history as well as Heiltsuk art history and culture. Very often I mix the two together. I’m from those two backgrounds, and I myself am a mixture of the two worlds.