Jeff Huntington‘s paintings are part of a long portraiture tradition which he riffs off, brings an inherent joy too, each picture full of integrity and honesty as if the very act of making is enough, to create a wonderful vibrant portrait that sings, that speaks of the wonder of colour and form.
One might call Huntington’s paintings conceptual portraits, his use of historical and political figures, as well as children, are central to his process, each face asking us questions, asking us to reconsider, to look past their public visage and into the personal, make them human; ordinary, everyday people, who light up the world. Using layers of collaged material and bright strong colours Huntington uses specific hues for each picture, the colour concentrating the mind, expressing a singular idea, the subtle variations in tone highlighting a life well lived, a vibrancy that is otherwise obscured by the realistic tonal changes in the features of a face. He gives us a story, a narrative through colour and expression. His search for the spirit of what it means to be alive articulated through the exploration of texture and colour, his directness creating the energy that is palpable in each and every painting.
From the little I’ve found out about Huntington his artistic career has been peripatetic beginning by selling tie dyed t-shirts at Grateful Dead concerts to working for a t-shirt silkscreening company and later onto painting birds and flowers in an effort to sell work. This battle to find his own space, to make a career out of his own work is an example to all inspiring artists as is his attitude which seems to be one of sharing, of talking with other artists, helping, passing on his knowledge and experience. This desire to create a community around art is rare. Most artists are too involved in their own practice to understand that collectively they can achieve more than on their own. Huntington sees beyond this. And for that alone he is to be admired.