Bringing a whimsical, 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 (favoring bright jackets and ties) and decorator (known for his keen eye for refurbishing homes and pairing vintage furniture with contemporary art) 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. He has 36 exhibitions of his works throughout the U.S. and Europe planned for this year alone, a licensing deal for a new line of Lee Jofa wallpaper and rugs and an upcoming collaboration of scarves and totes with New York based Echo design. He is also playing himself in an independent film called “Stealing Chanel.”
2014 has also been an exciting year for Slonem on the publishing front. He is currently releasing, in association with luxury book publisher Assouline, When Art Meets Design, an extraordinary 300 page, (280 illustrations) photography based volume that offers a dynamic view into his fantastically decorated and meticulously restored homes. These include three historic houses that he rescued and refurbished, including his “first child,” the Cordts Mansion in Upstate New York, and his two Southern mansions in Louisiana, Albania and Lakeside. Beyond its majestic beauty, the Lakeside Plantation captured Slonem’s fascination for history. Listed in the National Register of History Places in Louisiana, it was once owned by Marquis de La Fayette whose close relationship with lifelong friends such as Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, James Monroe, John Adams, and Robert Livingston played a pivotal role in the Louisiana Purchase.
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’x86’ 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 exhibited at the Polk Museum of Art in 2012. 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.