Hunt Slonem is one of the most cherished American contemporary painters, printmakers and sculptors. I met Hunt in his Chelsea loft more than 20 year ago and felt like Alice in Wonderland who discovered a parallel universe where parrots, cats, gothic furniture, tropical gardens and bright colors lived in harmony with the hundreds of painting that adorned te many walls.


PP: You are known for your paintings of birds, monkeys, rabbits, butterflies and saints. You also create sculptures and art installations composed of the feathers of your birds. Your works are in more than 80 museums and the homes of even more celebrities and fine art collectors; do you ever ponder about the influence you have on other people. Do you think people open up to the power of nature and the spirit world thanks to your talent?


HS: I hope that through my work I am able to open a positive place in their psyche. My work is really about the Garden of Eden. I noticed as a child – growing up in Hawaii – that nature is a gift to this place. My work came from early childhood experiences. Now I get a dosis of inspiration from nature in Louisiana where I have two houses.


I am giving people a view of nature they have never witnessed, my work is even used in teaching kids. The environment has been threatened all around the world. Buffalo’s have been slaughtered, pigeons everywhere are suffering too.

I view my art as a form of healing and hopefully, I bring a little awareness. I am however not crediting myself as I work with healers and meta-physicists.


PP: In a CBS Sunday Morning interview you share, “I am doing what I am supposed to do”… how early on in life did you know about your calling?


HS: I was in first grade and drew a picture of myself all while painting. My nature is to use paint, it’s a complete form. It’s very satisfying, metaphysically charged and never conflicting.

The first paintings that were found in the caves in Spain showcased a reverence, a balance of nature with birds and spirit. My work is in alignment with that original vision.


PP: Did you have a mentor or a particular source of inspiration?


HS: Growing up, I have been inspired by my maternal Grandfather. Alex Katz and Paul Georgians were important for me when I pursued my career. It was a real struggle at first and it is thanks to a grant from a public art foundation that I was able to transition to another level.


PP: You live with dozens of animals ( birds, cats, … ) and use the feather tips of birds as to create cages in your paintings… what do these animals represent for you?


HS: First, they are my friends and companions. They have great personalities and are very inspiring. Birds also represent the soul and they reflect love in Christianity. In the Hindu Indian philosophy, the body is represented by a cage and the bird reflects the soul.


PP: You work with psychics and spiritual practitioners. What messages/guidance do you receive from them and how does this expanded reality affect your consciousness.


HS: We have the possibility to communicate with the other side. Some big personalities talk to me, it interests me. I was very inspired by the 1920 beings. Abraham Lincoln tells me what to do and a Countess told me I was going to buy the house I am currently living in. The final goal is light, energy, transcendence.


PP: A day in the life of Hunt:


HS: I am in Louisiana right now (Hunt has three homes). I work all day long and am in constant communication with the people whom I work with. I touch base with my three spaces throughout the day, watch my gardens grow and reflect. Last year alone I had 27 shows, so I am extremely busy.

PP: Nature is a recurrent theme in your work. Are you worried about the rate of disappearance of biodiversity on our planet?


HS: Yes, I am extremely upset when I reflect about our losses of the last one hundred years. It is shocking that men has no consciousness, nature is not endless. People do not realize this.

PP: Would you have advice for our audience on how to live life in tune with nature?


HS: What is most important is to try to meditate, find your answers inside and through your connection. It is a divine gift.


PP: People in Manhattan can see your work represented by a beautiful mural at the Bryant Park Grill. Your work is also a part of the Metropolitan Museum collection. What is your favorite painting and why?


HS: The one I am working on the latest, it’s the new one. I am always excited about not knowing what comes next. I repeat a lot, mantra’s ,.., snowflakes.


PP: What is your wish for the future of our planet?


HS: If we open to a positive projection, something great will happen, transformation might occur. I hope the planet will survive, that we advance.

We should open to whatever the Divine has in mind. We are destined to have a peaceful mind.


Sustainable Inspiration : Hunt’s favorite book is «The game of life» by Florence Scovel-Shinn


View an interview with Hunt Slonem for his exhibition at the Berkshire Botanical Garden’s Leonhardt GalleriesView an Interview with Hunt Slonem