41: James B. Hunt

Categories: Creatives 2012

When we last put the spotlight on 100 creative forces in Phoenix, it was no secret there were more than 100 individuals who were making waves in the local arts community. So as we count down to our annual Best of Phoenix issue, we're profiling 100 more. Welcome (back) to 100 Creatives.

James B. Hunt
James B. Hunt leaves plenty behind. The local painter creates map-inspired and colorful portraits of human animals that have shown in galleries -- he says his first non-student show was at Alwun House in the mid-90s -- but he hides most of his work throughout Phoenix and leaves clues to their whereabouts on his website.

"I got into rock collecting about ten years ago. I spent a lot of my free time wandering in the desert looking for semi-precious stones," he says. It was there that I was introduced to a whole underground culture of desert-dwelling scavengers who were out there looking for all kinds of bizarre stuff. There were glass bottle collectors, bone collectors, tarantula hunters, gold miners, survivalists, all kinds of crazy guys. That's how I got the idea to start hiding my paintings. I began replacing the rocks I took with little paintings, and signed them with my web address. After about a year of doing this, people began finding them and contacting me. Eventually I just decided to start hiding them around town and see if anybody would care enough to want to pick them up."

As far as Hunt knows, there are currently 188 of his paintings hiding throughout Maricopa County.

James B. Hunt
I came to Phoenix with ... my family at a very young age.

I make art because ... When things are falling apart, or even if I'm just a little depressed, painting is the first thing I do. It's a coping mechanism.

I'm most productive when ... I'm alone.

My inspiration wall is full of ... Pictures of tiny houses, a bird mask that Tom Deadstuff made for me, which I sometimes wear when I'm doing live painting gigs, an old tract from The Process Church of the Final Judgement, pictures of birds, pictures of patients who were given face transplants, pictures of raw meat at various stages of decomposition, several pictures of tarantulas, a vinyl monkey sticker that my buddy Kento made, a shelf containing various geodes and gemstones that I've found from all over the state, and a framed photograph of David Koresh.

James B. Hunt
I've learned the most from ... my own stupid mistakes.

Good work should always ... Be finished. If this were any other day, I
might have something more metaphysical to say on the subject, but I just came from seeing a show where half the paintings displayed large backgrounds of unpainted canvas white. This is not acceptable. Finish your paintings before you hang them. If you want a white background, you're going to have to pick up your white and use it. Fill every inch of that canvas before deciding to put it in a show.

James B. Hunt
The Phoenix creative scene could use more ... More willing participants. More footwork. More venues. Less despair. Less complaining that Phoenix isn't the cultural oasis that New York is. We have a very interesting thing here with a lot of potential. We're in the middle of the desert. Things are just a bit complicated right now. Those complications will work themselves out if we're willing to do a little heavy lifting.

The Creatives, so far ... (And while you're here, check out 100 Tastemakers on Chow Bella.)

100:Lara Plecas
99. Isaac Caruso
98. Brandon Gore
97. Kelsey Dake
96. Hector Ruiz
95. Caroline Battle
94: Jennifer Campbell
93. Jeff Chabot
92. Tiffiney Yazzie
91. Daniel Germani
90. Irma Sanchez
89. Daniel m. Davis
88. Kirstin Van Cleef
87. Emmett Potter
86. Sarah Hurwitz
85. Christine Cassano
84. Fred Tieken
83. Lindsay Kinkade
82. Ruben Galicia
81. Robert Uribe
80. Heidi Abrahamson
79. Josephine Davis
78. Travis Ladue
77. Taz Loomans
76. Mikey Jackson
75. Alex Empty
74. Joe Ray
73. Carol Roque
72. Daniel Funkhouser
71. Carla Chavarria
70. Hugo Medina
69. Cavin Costello
68. Claire Carter
67. Lindsay Tingstrom
66. Catherine Ruane
65. Christopher Crosby
64. Aaron Johnson
63. Brenda Eden
62. Colton Brock
61. Ernesto Moncada
60. Benjamin Phillips
59. Brad Armstrong
58. Angela Hardison
57. Tyler Quinn
56. Andrew James Benson
55. Charles Anthony Darr
54: Tiffe Fermaint
53. Eric Cox
52. Victor Vasquez
51. John Randall Nelson
50. Lauren Lee
49. Kyle Jordre
48. Julie C. Kent
47. Sean Deckert
46. Niba DelCastillo
45. Joseph Benesh
44. Ashley Harder
43. Dan Vermillion
42. Daniel Shepherd

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