Written By Devin Hardy
HUNT SLONEM, Cockatoo Whisper London, 2022
Oil on Canvas, 48” x 48”
While Hunt Slonem may be most well known for his paintings of bunnies, birds are truly his greatest muse.
His most recent book, titled simply, "Birds", tells “the story of a lifetime with a theme that never ends. My whole life for the last 65 years has revolved around birds. This is a memento of that experience,” Slonem says.
Slonem's first encounter with tropical birds was as child living in Hawaii. He became infatuated with their colors, forms, songs and personalities and began using them as subject matter for his paintings in the early 1980s. "Birds are so smart and mystical and amusing and full of wonder and awe,” he says. “And gorgeous!” Slonem is a deeply spiritual person and connects with his avian companions on a deeply divine level. They have undergone a kind of apotheosis over the course of his life and his paintings have become tributes to these deity-like creatures that act as the daily company he keeps as well as a source of inspiration.
"There is also a completely spiritual aspect to to them. They are seen as the messenger of the gods and are vehicles of divine information." Stylistically, his technique for painting birds has evolved over time, starting with working in wet paint to create a surface with a thick impasto, then moving to what he calls cross-hatching, where he drags a pointed brush end through the wet paint to create cage-like lines. Most recently, he is branched out into other materials, including metallic paints and diamond dust.