Bringing a freewheeling sense of awe, wonder and detail to his wild array of paintings and sculptures and peaceful, mystical living and working spaces, NYC based artist and lifestyle trendsetter Hunt Slonem is considered one of the great colorists of his time.
As vibrant a dresser and decorator as he is a painter and sculptor, the Maine born creative force of nature is well known for his neo-expressionist works of butterflies, rabbits and tropical birds, the latter often inspired by the 30 to 100 exotic feathered friends he houses at any given time in an aviary in his 30,000 square foot Manhattan studio. Slonem has had over 300 one-man shows in galleries and museums internationally. His work is also in the permanent collections of 250 museums including the Guggenheim, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney, and the Moreau Foundation, and is part of private collections all over the world, including those of many celebrities.
As a founding element of his process, Slonem likes to say, “Repetition is very important.” He starts each day painting, treating each moment as one of profound meditation and channeling of God or a higher consciousness. Included in this ritual are his famous bunny paintings – the result of a daily morning warm-up that was sparked during a late-night revelation at a Chinese restaurant: that he was born in the Year of the Rabbit. His famous Bunny Wall combines his art with his passion for collecting, as the paintings are exhibited in Victorian-era portrait frames picked up from his travels across the country.
In March 2014, Slonem published, just in time for Easter, Bunnies, a luxurious, finely designed and crafted first collection of “bunny art” – an exciting, unexpected, impressionistic mega collection for adults and children alike. A treasury filled with enchanting full-color and black-and-white paintings, Bunnies features a foreward by bestselling author John Berendt (Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil) and an essay by artist and gallerist Bruce Helander. Berendt beautifully captures the magical springing to life of these rabbit figures when he writes: “Every morning, upon rising - even before he's had his first cup of coffee - Hunt Slonem performs his daily warm-ups . He approaches his worktable where a stack of small rectangular panels awaits. Some of the panels are made of wood, some of masonite. In the course of the next half hour he will have populated all the panels with rabbits. These paintings are what he calls his warm-ups.”
As the son of a Navy officer, Slonem spent his childhood on military bases: growing orchids in Hawaii, collecting stamps in Louisiana, and chasing those butterflies in Nicaragua—the place that inspired him most. The tropical landscape informed not only his process, but also his need to be surrounded by the nature he paints; he often works with a bird or two perched on his shoulder. Hundreds of birds also fill the surface of one of his largest ever projects – a 6’x 86’ mural he painted for the iconic Bryant Park Grill Restaurant in NYC. His renowned sculptures include “Tocos,” an 18-foot acrylic and aluminum tower of toucans installed in Metairie, LA. A graduate in Painting and Art History from Tulane University in New Orleans, Slonem has also done large sculpture commissions of rabbits, butterflies and toucans in various spots in Southern Louisiana.