Artist and Storyteller Rick Hunt
Photo by Jon Benton
Rick Hunt was born in Littleton, grew up there, went off to become an artist and eventually returned. He now lives with his wife and his paintings in a third-floor apartment that looks out over the charming downtown. It just happens to be the same apartment he shared with friends back in the heady 1970s. He and his wife are also storytellers in the Abenaki tradition. She weaves the tales while he paints, so they leave behind not only memories and lessons but works of art wherever they perform. Check them out at laughingcouple.com.
How do you describe your art? I dislike labels because it tends to put people/things in a box. My work changes as I do. I love to draw spontaneously and often I start with an “action” line or a “dance with the pen.” It is autobiographical and always about relationships.
Some might call it psychedelic. The word “psychedelic” to me, simply means “pertaining to the psyche.” In that sense, all my art is psychedelic.
Any influences you care to name? My work is and always has been influenced more by music than historic visual artists. I do have favorites — Jackson Pollock, Picasso, de Kooning and Jimi Hendrix (a genius). I was told he sometimes envisioned his music as colors and as “illustrations.”
Speaking of musicians, you’re working with rocker/writer Angie Bowie? We’re collaborating on a number of cool projects and recently published a coloring book called “Cat-Astrophe.” I’ve also been doing CD cover art for phenomenal blues guitarist Chris Dair, and for Jeff Slate and the Birds of Paradox, which consists of ex-members of Paul McCartney’s Wings and John and Yoko Lennon’s back-up band Elephant Memory.
Talk a little about your Indian heritage. Well, my wife Carolyn and I both have Native ancestry on both sides of our families. Carolyn’s is Abenaki/Sokoki and mine is Western Abenaki/Montagnais (with a splash of Shawnee). For about five years. I was a contractor to the NH Office of Minority Health and facilitated a youth group named WAOLOWZI ( means “live and be well … be very well” in Western Abenaki), and held meetings at various places all over the state.
Does your heritage influence your art? I like to consider myself an artist who happens to be Abenaki rather than an Abenaki artist. My Native culture occasionally rears its head in my work and my art is colored by my spirituality.
Where can people see your work? I have a lot of pieces in the permanent collection of the Abbe Museum in Bar Harbor, Maine, and have been co-curator of three Twisted Path intertribal contemporary art shows [a series that is his brainchild].
Your philosophy of life? LOVE everyone the very best you can, HONOR people, avoid violence, stay and BE positive! And CREATE TONS OF ART!