Hailing from Syracuse NY, Hunter Potter has been living in New York City for a year and has already had much success as a painter in various professional and commercial settings. While positions like this provide a steady paycheck and resume prestige, they are secondary to the freedom of painting on one’s own accord.
Moving to New York City in January of this year came at the end of a cross-country road trip culminating in a few days in Los Angeles. LA was the light at the end of the tunnel. It was the last destination in a trip that had snaked its way across the Southern US. With LA’s artistic reputation, there was much anticipation rolling into town from the east. Hunter described a tangible sense of relief upon arrival.
Hunter in his studio
“Maybe it was the fatigue from being on the road, maybe it was some personal shit that I was thinking about, but the LA art scene was more like, something that made me want to get back to New York to make art. Obviously there was lots of cool art, but being there helped me realize how much of an East Coaster I was, and I liked that.”
Hunter has adopted several motifs. Drawing early inspiration from Basquiat, he has more recently developed scenes from songs, his life, others’ lives- through the recognizable, relatable hooded figures. While the figures may be unique to Hunter’s style, the situations he aims to portray are not. Below is an excerpt from a conversation I had with Hunter on the artistic process and how it can be affected and influenced by outside factors:
Vinnie: “I’ve noticed you’re doing lots of figures lately. People are asking for more of these?”
Hunter working on his mural in Manhattan
Vinnie: “Yea that is sweet, I was over there the other day and pointed it out to the crew I was with at the time, they dug it”
Hunter: “Each one of my paintings [of the hooded figures] is of a situation that I experienced in my life that is totally mine. The goal is to make them relatable for everyone. That’s really my goal. Whatever I have going on, I put it on [canvas] to help me frame it and hope that other people can relate to it in their own way.”
Vinnie: “That’s awesome, I feel like that’s how some of the best, most timeless art has become what it is. No matter what you’re feeling, you can always relate back to it- good, bad, whatever, it has substantial meaning that isn’t period specific at its core.”
Hunter: “Exactly man!”
A recent example of this motif at work is pictured below. The idea arose as our conversation transitioned from artistic inspiration, to (every 20-something’s favorite) relationships. The image depicts a figure staring at another figure’s face, seeing within it, its own reflection.
One of Hunter’s paintings
Both Hunter and I have different interpretations of this painting, both fueled by very different circumstances. I relate to this painting as if it were made for me and my unique story only. I do own the painting, and it did come at the heels of a conversation detailing this concept in length, however it’s something that many who have seen it in my living room have instantly projected on it, their own unique analyses. The conversation could go on and about this one. A painting with just a few colors has continued to yield days, weeks, of conversation amongst friends. The painting has transcended its place on my wall and found its way into my thoughts and personal reflections. What more can one ask for than for art to become a vessel for personal growth in addition to being pretty damn good-looking?
By: Vinnie DePalma