We had the good fortune of connecting with Chris Hunt and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Chris, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Risk to me is like water and air, without it you can’t live. I mean you can physically live without risk, but very little living will take place. A life without risk would be one without experiences, love, joy or sorrow, which are all needed to have the other. In order to see the beauty of life we must take risks, we have to venture out into the world to see what awaits us, which is the biggest risk of all, going into the unknown to see what happens. This is one of the reasons I love art and being an artist, because it is a mixture of everything that we can experience in life. Art is beauty, pain, joy, sorrow, love and hate. Creating a piece of art work that comes from within me, that is a culmination of my life experiences, my beliefs, people I know or may not know and putting it out into the world for thousands of people to see is for me exhilarating and of course very risky on a multitude of levels. When an artist puts their work out into the world, judgement awaits, not only will the work be judged, but the artist will be judged as well. If throwing yourself to the wolves to see if you’ll be eaten or praised for your work isn’t taking a risk, I don’t know what is.
I feel that in order to be great and to produce great artwork, risk is one of the main ingredients. Growth only comes from failure and learning, so as an artist, from the very beginning of my career to this day and going forward, I have and will continue to expose myself to the risk of my work being judged, so that I can continue to grow and be successful as an artist and person.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Being a professional artist isn’t something I grew up dreaming about as a child, I had many interests and ambitions growing up, art was just something I was good at, I had a naturally ability and enjoyed doing it, but it wasn’t a goal. It wasn’t until I joined the United States Air Force and ended up stationed in Europe that I found the inspiration and the passion I have today. I was stationed in Germany, only hours from Paris, France, the Louvre, Italy and many more museums that held masterpieces I would have never seen otherwise. I was in awe over what I had seen and being that I had never experienced sculpture before, that’s the medium that grabbed my attention and desire the most. When I finished my tour with the Air Force and came back to the States, I knew I wanted to be an artist, but I had no ideas how to start. Coming from a small Texas town, I didn’t know any other artists, much less someone making a living at it, so it wasn’t an easy transition. It took me years of self study, sculpting, drawing, going to museums, galleries, art shows and meeting other artists before I even began to understand a path toward becoming a full-time artist. It took me twelve years of working full time, working on my art in the evenings and weekends to become a better artist, networking, submitting to shows and trying to sale my work before I was able to make a living as an artist. It was a very meager living, but I had quit my day job and was working on art full-time, and to me, that made me a rich man.
Being told no over and over wasn’t something I expected once I started making a living at art, I thought doors would swing open, but little did I know. I soon found out that I wasn’t on easy street and that making a living as a full-time artist was going to be a constant uphill battle and a daily grind of becoming a better artist. I felt that I had an edge working in more than one medium, I could draw, do bronze sculpture and carve marble, but there are so many amazing artists out there that produce incredible work, that I knew I had a long way to go before becoming the artist that I wanted to be, needed to be.
I didn’t let being told no deter me, I kept working on my craft, networking and learning, which eventually led to me being told yes. I began to understand that the art business wasn’t a sprint, it was a marathon. No overnight success stories, riches or fame, but many many hours alone in the studio, grinding day and night, honing my abilities, learning and working to be a great artist. I started to find a foot hold after being expected into some major museum shows and meeting notable collectors. After about eight years of working full-time as an artist, now twenty years in total working towards my goal, I started to feel comfortable in my skin, knowing what I was doing and where I wanted to go. Having the opportunity to be in Major Museum shows such as the Briscoe Western Art Museum’s Night of Artists show and sale and having my art in the same show as the artists I only had a chance to read about and see their work in magazines, gave me a since of accomplishment. It also made me once again, realize that I needed to step up my game if I wanted to compete on the big stage. So, here I am, almost twenty two years later, steeping myself in western art, ever learning, hustling and working to master the Western Art Work that encompasses my heart and soul.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I had a good friend visit me in Houston, I would definitely take them on a museum tour. Houston, Tx has some amazing museums and masterpieces from all genres. My first stop would be The Houston Museum of Fine Art in the Museum district, which houses an encyclopedic collection of nearly 70,000 works of art created throughout the world, from antiquity to the present. The MFAH has a permanent collection that rivals most major museums in the country and it has most of the major exhibitions that tour the country and globally. Next, the Menil Collection that houses the art collection of the founders John de Menil and Dominique de Menil, which is approximately 17,000 painting, sculptures, prints, drawings, photographs and rare books. The list of places we’d visit dominates, the Contemporary Museum, the Holocausts Museum, the Buffalo Soldiers Museum and The Museum of Natural Science just to name a few. Houston is only second to Broadway in regards to performing arts, so we’d have to take in a Broadway show at the Houston Hobby Center, an award winning play at the Alley Theatre, a ballet at the Houston Ballet, take in a night at the Houston Symphony or get dressed up for the Houston Grand Opera, the opportunities for the performing arts in Houston are endless.
Depending on what season it is, we’d take in a game watching the World Series Winning Houston Astros, the Houston Rockets who’ve won two MBA
Championships or go watch the Houston Texans play some football. We’d have to throw in a fishing trip down in Galveston too…
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My father deserves most of the credit for my ambitions, work ethic and adventurous nature that has brought me around the world and given me the belief in myself to take on challenges such as making a living as a fine artist. From the time I was a child, he would very rarely deter me from trying something, but would encourage me if anything. I believe he would rather have me learn on my own to see if I could achieve something than tell me no, you can’t do that. I think he knew that if he told me no I’d probably do it anyway. Once my father recognized that I had a talent in something, be it in sports, music or art, he would give me unwavering support and encouragement. Having that kind of free will and belief in myself made me fearless when it came to trying something new or taking on a challenge in life.