On a sunny morning in Sunset Park, Hunt Slonem is moving about in a hum of constant activity that has made him so prolific as an artist. Large collections of his paintings of tropical birds, butterflies, turtles, bunnies and mysterious women are hung on bold-colored walls. Violet, chartreuse, and lovely, pale cyan blue vignettes line the massive 30,000 square foot studio. The space blurs the lines between studio, gallery and art installation. It is like walking through a rainbow of emotions, filled with Slonem's array of eclectic collections, carefully arranged to awe-inspiring effect. Surrounding glass walls overlook the Statue of Liberty. It's like traveling through a picture book: modern, juxtaposed with a Baroque charm; it is truly the most original studio you will ever set eyes on.
Slonem has an affinity for the 19th Century. His antique collections include Victorian Gothic Revival scent bottles, so rare he's only seen one outside his collection (at The Metropolitan Museum of Art), Old Paris porcelain, Belter Furniture, one of the largest collections of American Gothic Revival sofas in the world and American gilded furniture and colored ink wells.
He avidly collects Palais Royal perfume bottles, nineteenth century portraits (including a very good collection of Louisiana Antebellum portraiture), 19th century American cabinets, Antebellum beds (particularly Mallard and Half-Testers), and 19th century picture frames (or just extraordinary picture frames from any era).
"What I love and adore, 1850s to 1870s, is one of the most unpopular periods of aesthetic choice." He goes on to say that he thinks there are cycles. "Bouguereau was out of fashion forever, along with Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, and now they sell for... Well I don't care what things sell for," he remarks, adding "Things are rediscovered, re-appreciated." He can appreciate classic, fine pieces of art from many generations; however, his one-of-a kind personality and unique paintings, are what will perhaps one day be his legacy.
Does he think about his own legacy? He claims not. "Who knows where the world is heading? We may all be in some technological device and not even exist some day!" he tells us.