Hunter B Bell
a pattern seeker
I am not a professional artist. I am a facilitator.
To say that I am an artist of any kind is redundant, because we are all artists. No one pays me to create art; instead, they pay me so that they can experience it, for this is all it is: an experience, a verb, a state of mind. To art is to be present, and we who call ourselves artists find our meditation in the concerted flow of our craft.
So be present. Find your own art as you explore the byproducts of mine.
Hunter grew up drinking from the springs of the Blue Ridge Mountains and considers south-western Virginia his land. After high school, he chose to forgo college -an institution that he believes is rapidly becoming antiquated- and instead developed a sense of fine craftsmanship under the tutelage of Richard Taylor creating modern concrete counters. Richard was seminole in encouraging Hunter's art at a professional level, and when he moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin to begin developing his career as a fine artist he dabbled in commercial art under the mentorship of Mutope Johnson and the Milwaukee Artist Resource Network. From there he returned to Virginia as a muralist and illustrator, where he continues his search for meaning in a fulfilling career.
Hunter is a folk artist: the caliber of his craft in rendering, writing, music, and thought is equally invaluable and valueless. He is untrained in the techniques of those who “create” and therefore his work may be unpalatable to those who are. He is, however, quite good at being ignorant. Perhaps this perspective, one steeped in the drunken mind of a curious child, can lend even the most learned masters some unsuspecting insight—an escape from the echo chamber of their lives. Learn from the child, for it has not yet limited the world with fantasies of truth and fact. Instead, it lives each day with openness, honesty, and subsequently a freedom that the repressed hide from out of fear. As you explore this page, consider your own relationship with truth. Treat what you read here as fact, but take care to form a new relationship with the idea. Never believe what you are told. Never trust what you believe.
I strive to address awareness and self honesty by challenging the beliefs we latch onto as truths. Over several years, I have discovered a system of inter-reliant symbols which visually represent the philosophy that has become the principle element of my exploration. While my technique and medium vary, the common thread that links my craft is a deep, deliberate consideration of the derived meaning in pattern and illusion, and in so I am consumed in a dualism of existence. My style too remains consistent with this relative symbology: organic, detailed textures tending toward busy -even overwhelming- leave just enough room for a strong focus on composition. I look to the natural world for inspiration, and each piece is as intricate and ponderous as the story I tell of a unified, boundless reality unseen by any and all of those who try to use their eyes and lose the forest amongst the trees of their own creation.
I am not one to stay still. I find the convergence of art -the similarities between all practices of the creative process- to be the most fulfilling part of my craft. While I submit to the market, and recognize that some work pays better than others; I hope to never settle down in any one medium.
My work with commercial clients has been a lesson in communication. The birth of an idea is not at conception but delivery, and without the proper execution, an idea is little more than a dream. For most of my work, the execution requires the cooperation of my mind and hand, but producing someone else's vision requires a different kind of creativity, openness, and audacity. Developing a brand and translating a client's vision into something I not only understand but feel has proven to be far greater of a collaborative effort than I ever would have chosen. I hold it now with respect and satisfaction.
We are visual creatures, and we experience the world most resolutely through images. In fact, it is difficult for one who sees to "visualize" a construction of the world without pictures, and in this way, vision makes us blind to what is not seen. Can one who never saw, in fact, ever be blind? We, the pattern seekers, have a relationship with vision so deeply rooted that it begs for further investigation; Symbolically, this is the foundation of my exploration into experience and what else, if anything, is out there-whatever "there" means.
I find the most engagement in sculpting. To fabricate or carve something from another requires a broader kind of spacial awareness and understanding of material limits. Building draws me into a more present, tactile experience that other 2-dimensional art does not. I often get lost in a dream-world of drawing thoughts and pictures, but manipulating solid stuff grounds me in what is practical: it is, perhaps, the closest I get to connection through craft.
Bigger isn't better, but it sure is a hell of a lot of fun! One of my most recent exploits has been to explore the industry of mural work. My victims include children's nurseries, buses, and public buildings. Nothing is safe from a can of spray paint or a brush as I attempt to paint the town, spreading my ideology and flare to wider public audiences.
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