Fusion Art is pleased to feature Florida based artist, Hunter Jay in its “A Day in the Life” series. In this series of Artist Showcases, the gallery reveals the “typical” day of many of its award-winning artists.
Hunter is an award-winning artist based in Sarasota, Florida. Hunter has won numerous awards in Fusion Art’s online art competitions as well as been featured in the gallery’s Artist Spotlight solo art series.
Below please find, in Hunter’s own words, the answers to 12 questions about him, his art and his “typical” day as he gives us a glimpse into his artistic life.
How do you start your day?
I love waking up early, before sunrise, so that I can watch the transformation of the day. In southern Florida, I’m usually greeted with cotton candy clouds in shades of blue, pink and orange and I don’t want to miss any of it. If the dogs are willing (miniature dachshunds about 11 years old) we’ll take a walk, but sometimes they’re more interested in breakfast treats. Regardless, I end up on the lanai with a cup of coffee by 7:30.
How many days a week do your work on your art?
I work on my art every day of the week, and most artists I know do the same.
Do you have a home studio or do you go to an outside studio to work? Which do you prefer and why?
I have both a home studio and a studio/gallery in a historic building in old town Sarasota. I like them both and they serve different purposes. I work in my home studio on Sundays through Tuesdays. This is where I work on larger pieces, and where I photograph the finished paintings. In my studio gallery, I have most of it devoted to hanging space for the public to view. In one corner, I have an easel set up and work on smaller pieces like pet portraits.
What kind of art do you create?
I am known for lush tropical botanicals and seascapes. I have two main galleries outside of my own, and one carries only the botanicals, while the other carries everything I do, but focuses mainly on my coastal art and seascapes.
Walk us through your “typical” day?
Wednesdays thru Saturdays (my public gallery days) are devoted to interacting with visitors on the busy days, while I also work on smaller paintings; usually commissions. I actually get a lot of painting done on my “Gallery Days” as I call them. I have found that visitors are likely to spend more time looking at the hanging art when you are not simply sitting at a desk watching them, or interrogating them. With me, actually in the act of painting, it gives them a chance to look at art on their own, and they also love to watch me work, which I welcome. On home gallery days (Sunday thru Tuesday), I do work on larger pieces there, but this is also my time for accounting, researching exhibition opportunities, etcetera. The home gallery days are more split between clerical and creative, so to speak.
What has been your biggest challenge so far?
I want to paint everything! In so many different styles and mediums! However, in order to be financially successful I do know that I need to adhere to a cohesive style to attract the eyes of repeat buyers and outside galleries. I try to paint a series of botanicals, and then switch over to a series of seascapes to keep everyone happy. Then, smack in the middle of that, I allow myself to experiment in a different style with an entirely different subject matter. In this way, I am never uninspired.
What do you enjoy most about being an artist?
It’s when someone relates to my work in a deeply personal way, when I feel the most fulfilled. Yes, I absolutely dive into creating it - in my own zone, my own universe…that is phenomenal. But when that connection is then communicated and strikes in the heart of a collector, well, there is no describing that feeling. I know I have contributed some joy to the world at large. It gives me a great sense of purpose, and I think that is what all humanity craves. That is, to know that there is a reason for existing on the planet.
What do you enjoy the least?
I package and ship out all my own work. It’s a great money-saver, but it can be tedious and time consuming. Shipping internationally is something I do, but all the numerous customs forms and bills of lading required can be quite a mind bender, because they’re all different according to location.
Do you have any mentors?
Artistically speaking, I follow some great painters on social media, though my work is nothing like theirs and I wouldn’t want it to be. We all have our own voice. Their creativity is an inspiration, but they are not mentors in that sense, though there is some interaction. As for the business side of it, same thing: I watch what other artists do to be successful, such as teaching classes or what kinds of exhibitions they show in. But on a personal basis, no.
Is the artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?
I am never lonely! On my public gallery days, there is a parade of visitors. And since I am located in the middle of an art colony, we artists support each other in so many ways. On my home studio days, my dachshunds are with me if I need some interaction, while my husband is downstairs in his own office. We chat throughout the day. Anyway, on those days I am usually so busy juggling painting with other tasks like accounting and shipping, I don’t have the time to feel lonely.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Denver Colorado artist Sandra Kaplan once told me, “Don’t be afraid to create an ugly painting.” What she meant was to unfetter myself from the expectation that all I touch will be golden, a masterpiece for the ages. Because if you go in with that expectation, you will be disappointed over and over again and you’ll lose your motivation. Just create; let it go and let it flow. And with that advice, I allow myself a certain number of failures, but in those failures I LEARN THINGS. And with those lessons learned, you actually do create some beautiful work.
What inspires you?
I wish I had a deep, intellectual answer for this. But it is simply the beauty of the earth. I never take one minute of it for granted. Here’s an example: For a while, when we moved to Florida, on this beautiful lake surrounded by palm trees…I took a photo of the sunset every single day, because they were all so different. Then my camera began to fill up and there was no way I would ever be able to keep track of them or even take the time to view them all. Now I just absorb them, appreciate them and store them inside myself. The knowledge of that beauty carries over into every subject I approach, be it an ocean wave or a fragile orchid.
Thank you, Hunter, for sharing a peek into your life as an artist!
Below are 8 of Hunter’s award winning pieces. To learn more about Hunter and see more of his work please visit his website.
Fusion Art, LLC
Santa Fe, NM