Hunt Slonem is a nationally celebrated artist that has long been a resource for Lucas/Eilers when searching for original artwork. His explosive color combinations, distinctive painting techniques and quirky subjects including tropical birds, butterflies and bunnies add excitement to any room.
After meeting him on our latest trip to New York City and getting a tour of his loft turned studio, our fascination with Hunt has grown even stronger. In the photo below, we are standing in front of Hunt’s famous “Bunny Wall”. This expansive grouping of small bunny paintings covers an entire studio wall and is the inspiration behind the wallpaper Groundworks will carry this fall.
Hunt’s fascination with rabbits stems from the fact that he was born in the year of the rabbit, according to the Chinese zodiac calendar. Each bunny is set in a Victorian-era frame salvaged from local flea markets and antique stores making each painting unique and just a little different from the next.
Hunt loves animals and paints in the company of his many parrots and parakeets. He spent his childhood in Hawaii and a year studying in Nicaragua which exposed him to many of the beautiful animals that have become the inspiration behind much of his work.Left Photo: Source
His studio is a massive 25,000 square feet, with 89 rooms chock-full of paintings and other works of art. According to Hunt, “I have to have a certain amount of stuff in place before I can function and paint.” He doesn’t have an inch to spare, but we bet he could convince you otherwise!
Hunt has a unique method of texturizing his work which he calls “cross-hatching.” He scrapes through multiple layers of wet paint using the end of a paint brush handle. Each painting is unique and has so many rich, colorful layers.
We designed the dining room below for the Luxe Interiors + Magazine, Villa de Luxe, designer showhouse a couple of years ago benefiting Preservation Houston. Knowing that we wanted to use Hunt’s whimsical artwork for our focal point, we chose a green hue for the walls and custom rug. Ironically, this painting sold at the preview party, but fortunately Gremillion gallery had another Slonem painting of similar size that we were able to replace it with for the remainder of the show.
This fall, Groundworks will introduce a new line at Lee Jofa featuring an exclusive collection of fabrics, wallpapers and carpets inspired by Hunt’s work. We were fortunate to get a firsthand look at the fabrics and let us just say, they are as full of color and as fabulous as his paintings.
What an experience it was getting to know Hunt and his big personality while exploring his technicolor loft studio. Hunt kindly signed his new book for us, “When Art Meets Design,” so we could take our very own bunny home with us!