An interview with our artist Gillian Hunt

29 April 2020

We interview artist Gillian Hunt from Glen Lyon, Perthshire.

Please describe your artwork style
I am a photographic artist - I specialise in Macro flowers and bees. Always looking for a different way to photograph my subjects - a way to bring more depth to my subject.

What's your background?
My background is post production broadcast television on the technical side. I spent many many hours in editing suites looking at images and my photography has been a natural progression for me.

How long have you been an artist?
All my life but seriously since 2006

Who or what are your biggest influences?
My biggest influence is nature and in particular flowers - including wild flowers and bees - especially Bumblebees. Also Tim Burton films! His edgy work has helped to bring an edginess to my work which I am exploring at the moment. I find it helps if I have one of his films on when I am working on my images in Photoshop.

How have you developed your career?
Since 2006 I have spent my time studying and photographing flowers and in the last five years Bumblebees. I have experimented with different lenses, different ways of shooting and have seen my style develop over the years. At first I didn't use Photoshop very much, but my use of this has also developed over the years as my aim is to produce a work of art not a pin sharp botanical image of a flower. I have experimented with more abstract ways of shooting and also classical ways . . . and still am.

Over the years I have tried various ways of selling ie craft fairs, Galleries, Art fairs, Open Studios etc, our own Gallery and on-line selling. I no longer do craft fairs but continue with everything else.
I was also 'discovered' four years ago (?) by Michael Woodward of Out of the Blue, a Licensing company in America. He saw my work on Artist Info and asked me to join OOTB as one of his artists. This has taken my career on another path as producing work for the Wall Art world is very specific. Michael has been my mentor over the last four years. It has certainly developed my work in a way I wasn't expecting and has made me question what I am doing and why and has been very uncomfortable at times. I am more reconciled now with two ways of working - one for me and one for OOTB - sometimes they come together and sometimes they don't.I have also entered various competitions - and have had quite a lot of success over the years.

Which current art world trends are you following?
I work with the American licensing company OOTB and through them I follow the colour trends each year - as producing wall art is very different from producing art for galleries and on-line sales etc. I do find these two different ways of working can cause conflict within me BUT it has also helped me to question and grow.

Where do you do your work?
90% of my shooting work is done in my garden - I buy plants throughout the year and pot them up and photograph them. I do some shooting in doors - but not much as yet - that is something I am planning on doing more of. I have a work room and here I spend a lot of time on Photoshop with my drawing tablet working on the images I have shot. I also do the printing and Diamond Dusting etc here. Work on the frames is done in a 'dirty' work room I share with my husband - ie here I do all the messy work making the frames - then are then brough back to my work room to assemble.

What do you feel is the role of the artist in society?
You know this is such a huge question I don't know where to start . . .

What techniques / mediums do you use?
I use a camera to take the images. My finished work is then turned into fine art Giclee prints using a Hahnemühle FIne Art lightly textured paper. I do all my own printing.

I am now experimenting with adding Swaroskvi Crystals and Diamond Dust to my images. I have had a huge amount of positive feedback and a lot of sales.
I also print a lot of greetings cards - both plain and hand glittered.

Which is more important to you, the subject of your painting, or the way it is executed?

How do you feel when you are letting your emotions loose on the canvas?
I suppose for me Photoshop is my canvas - and I get a wonderful feeling of excitement when I feel I have really got something.

What project are you working on now?
Currently I am working through the images I took of my flowers and bees last year - there are a lot of them. These will form my next collection to go in our Gallery at the Bridge of Balgie and the various places I exhibit - although currently everywhere is shut.

Any current or up-coming exhibitions?
I am in the Artisanand Gallery in Aberfeldy which had to shut - but has gone on line. Working on images for our own Gallery as well a collection for Fortingall Art Fair and for Perthshire Open Studios - although everything is shut, or cancelled.

Where do you find your ideas for your work?
The process starts when I either buy a plant from a nursery, or when I see a wildflower.

Is there an artwork you are most proud of? Why?
Usually the set of images of a flower I am working on - if it is going well. I often find my mind drifting to what I am doing when I am not working and feeling joy.

How do you know when a work is finished?
How long is a piece of string?

What is your most important artist tool? Is there something you can’t live without in your studio?
My camera.

Is there an element of art you enjoy working with most? Why?
I love every process. Buying the flowers potting them up, watching them grow, photographing them, working on them, printing them, adding diamond dust, or crystals, making and finishing the frames and putting everything together.

Additional Information
Important to note that everything for my images is done in house. I do all my own printing. I also cut all my own mounts. The frames are cut and pinned by my husband and business partner, but I do all the sanding, staining and waxing of the frames for my work and also do all the assembling to produce the finished product.

Finally I am in the process of completely re-doing my website. I am keeping my current one up-to-date - but it will change at some point this year.

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