“I have never felt like I really belonged to any one particular movement, culture, category, or clique. As an artist this has given me an incredible amount of freedom. I don’t feel that my work is conceptual, traditional, artifact or craft. It is neither ancient nor modern. Instead, I feel as though my work has elements of all of these categories. This is a freedom that allows me to distort, subvert, hijack and remix these categories in order to offer new points of view. I want to challenge the viewers’ preconceptions. I like the idea of art being like a catalyst, or a flash point. I think art is most powerful when it poses questions, not when it gives the viewer the answers. My goal is to make the viewer think.” – Shawn Hunt
Shawn Hunt was born in Vancouver, Canada in 1975. He is an artist of Heiltsuk, French and Scottish ancestry. He has a diploma in studio art from Capilano college as well as a BFA from the University of British Columbia where he majored in sculpture and drawing. Hunt comes from a family of artists: his father is Bradley Hunt, a prominent Heiltsuk artist with whom Shawn apprenticed for 5 years, learning wood and jewelry carving as well as traditional design. Shawn’s brother, Dean Hunt, is also an artist. Father and son still collaborate on some of their pieces. In the summer of 2000, Hunt began carving jewelry. Hunt is now known for working in many media, including silver, acrylic paintings, and creating sculpture in both traditional and post-modern motifs.
Many of his pieces have an ironic, sarcastic, or downright humorous aspect to them, as he plays with mythological characters and places them in contemporary situations. Raven is a usual suspect, as he has appeared in Hunt’s acrylic paintings perched on Campbell’s soup cans, being watched by security cameras, or messing about in museums.
Aside from several solo shows, Hunt’s work has been featured in several major exhibitions, including “Challenging Traditions” at the McMichael Museum in Ontario in 2008 and “Beat Nation: Art Hip-hop and Aboriginal Culture” at the Vancouver art gallery in 2012. He was the recipient of the BC Creative Achievement Award for First Nations’ Art in 2011.