I, for a long time, have envied sculptors...they change space by shoving their stuff into it, affecting everything around it, sometimes for miles around!
Recently, I spent a morning with Richard Hunt, the internationally recognized sculptor with more public works than any other living artist. It’s a given that he just blows me away. His charming and unassuming personality and his handsome good looks are enough, but add to that his enormous creative abilities and long-tested productivity and you have a contemporary artist who is pretty much unmatched!
If envy, like Dante’s Inferno, has circles, visiting Hunt’s studio takes me deep into a covetous crater. His studio is jammed with tiny maquettes, informally arranged like a collection of rare crystal, intermixed with huge electric tools and small gadgets used to form and transform the metals, Hunt’s preferred medium. Some items I see are old hand tools that chew into and cut metal, and lots of cords attached to the tools trail the floor. There are modern laser cutters and various metal fasteners and clamps that I don’t have names for, plus curly metal shavings (that I wanted so badly to graph onto some of my own art!) left behind when the huge sheets of steel and aluminum are cut. The hunks of scrap metal and new metal create piles of inventory taller than my 5’10” frame and probably taller than my 3-story house. Various wires and wood pieces, books, magazines, newspapers, catalogs and clothes flow like a river and its tributaries throughout this space.
The cornucopia of sculpture-making delights extends from the floor to the ceiling with tiny aisles for walking and niches for working. I don't know how many works-in-progress are in this colossal former Chicago Transit Authority terminal. Many larger scale works shine beautifully in the muted light. They look complete and ready to go to a gallery, home, museum or corporation. I’d certainly welcome them into my home. Walking through Richard Hunt’s studio is like walking through a diamond shop with all the jewels out for anyone to touch!
I arrived at his
It seems to me he must. When I argued for the theme Artists at Work for Chicago Artists Month 2002 it was because I believe in what Richard Hunt lives, and I believe many other artists do, too: work. You work to make as much art as you can, for as many days as you can, for as many years as you can. Your natural creativity and the creativity you inevitably develop when you practice will show. Right now, I think the hardest job is mine, attempting to write about Richard Hunt’s glittering, magical space, holding treasures that easily compete with a gold mine, so that you can envision it.
Beauty aside, this is one studio that screams prolific. Richard Hunt states plainly, for anyone who looks, that he is the artist at work.
I first published this post here...where you will find interesting comments you might like to read and other blogs on artists' studios.