As a lover of birds from a very early age myself, there was no denying Birds by Hunt Slonem, © 2017, published by Glitterati Incorporated, would be a book I would instantly gravitate to. What makes Hunt’s work so striking is not so much his brilliant use of color + repetition, but it’s also the tactile aspect of his paintings, with the many layers of paint + his handling of that medium used to create the amazing + globally acclaimed iterations of birds shown throughout this impressive 272-page tome. This hardcover masterpiece is such that Hunt’s avian subjects seem to beg for a hint of flight with the flip of every page while spilling onto its silver gilded pages, it’s gray satin ribbon book marker + all over the inside covers.
(”SWALLOWTAIL 1′, 2009 | ‘PARROTS’, 2013)
Influenced by the exotic, lush landscapes of his childhood years in Hawaii, “Slonem has noted that he first was fascinated by parakeets when he was ten, + at sixteen bought some birds in a market in Nicaragua,” as writer, reporter, + cartoonist Anthony Haden Guest points out. When visiting his New York studio once myself, a work of art on its own, with various rooms completely painted in one singular color, briefly captured in the book, you seem to feel like you’re being transported into another reality, comprised of colorful spaces inhabited not only by Hunt’s variety of parrots, parakeets, macaws + cockatoos, but also by different groupings of the artist’s paintings + sculptures (below).
Repetitive imagery, a motif synonymous with Hunt’s work, would bring to mind Andy Warhol, which Hunt himself once mentioned in an Interview magazine December 2011 interview, by Claire Stein, as an influence saying, “I was influenced by Warhol’s repetition of soup cans + Marilyn,” adding, “But I’m more interested in doing it in the sense of prayer, with repetition… It’s really a form of worship,” which is quite evident in his attention to detail applied to most of his paintings with deep crosshatch marks made throughout. These indentations, a signature of Hunt’s work, further the theory of repetition giving the image a sense of movement, but as mentioned in Guest’s BIRDS essay, ‘You’re In Wonderland’, regarding this repeat technique, “Slonem will usually paint them in profile, as did John James Audubon, + he often arranges them by species + in multiple images, but not so as to emphasize their sameness in the manner of most painters of multiples, but rather to bring out at once their abundant presence + their lively uniqueness.”
(‘TOCOS 1’, 2008 | ‘HERB’S CARDINALS’, 2014 )
Author Jacqueline Bograd Weld describes Hunt’s paintings as “literally a whirl of paint-a thick impasto that Hunt grids or swirls at will. The birds + images appear and reappear in a purely visual space, an all-over style, in which there is no clear beginning or end or edge or corner,” reminding her of his stylistic roots in the recurring imagery of abstract expressionism + in Jackson Pollock’s gestural painting, in the Foreword A Fond Sonore. This clearly sets the tone for every masterpiece he assumes to create, always proving to be triumphant upon applying that last stroke of paint + or that last line cutting through it.
(‘RUFUS ROLLER’, 2013)
Containing a variety of over one hundred bird paintings, Birds by Hunt Slonem, © 2017, published by Glitterati Incorporated, is sure to make a delightful gift for anyone who loves birds, color, patterns, texture, + fashion. But if not for someone else, it’s sure to breathe new life into your own personal art book collection, perfect for just sitting around + escaping into the far reaches of tropical settings enhanced by one artist’s vivid imagination + deep adoration for birds.
As with all of Glitterati Incorporated’s books, Birds by Hunt Slonem, © 2017, published by Glitterati Incorporated, is a ‘must cop’ + available for purchase here.