deceptively simple ASK THE artsperts … Kristine Meek and Juliana Meek

Dear Artsperts,
Why all the rabbits?
Hopping to Know

Dear Hopping,
People often ask us “why bunnies” or “why rabbits” when they first look at Hunt Slonem’s bunny wall in our gallery at 382 12th Ave S in Naples. The answer is really “why not”. Harmon-Meek Gallery has represented Hunt Slonem since the early 1990s and we have seen him paint dozens of animal species – including the birds and butterfly/moth species perhaps hundreds.

But if you ask us right now, what is the most quintessential Hunt Slonem subject we would have to say bunnies/rabbits. Hunt Slonem’s rabbit/bunny paintings have become iconic and recognizable globally. Just follow #huntslonembunnies or #huntslonembunnywall on social media to find out how widespread the trend has become.

The bunny walls we annually create in our gallery and that some collectors build in their own homes are largely made up of 10” x 8” paintings on panel with antique frames housing one lone rabbit/bunny portrait. These small bunny paintings are Slonem’s warm up paintings. A creature of habit and routine, Hunt Slonem enjoys starting each workday with a cup of coffee in one hand and his paintbrush in the other standing before his specialized 6-foot easel with rows on top of rows of precut 10”x 8” panel ready for their layers of paint or the final bunny outline or their whiskers to be pulled through the tacky paint. Due to the nature of his medium and his technique, Slonem has dozens of paintings at various stages of completion at any given time.

But back to why bunnies/rabbits: an artist’s inspiration can come from anywhere even the menu at a Chinese restaurant where Hunt Slonem discovered he was born in the year of the rabbit. In the Chinese Zodiac the rabbit represents hope and long life. Each rabbit Slonem creates has a different personality expressed through its eyes, whiskers (if present), position of its head, and the pose of its ears.

Slonem has always enjoyed exploring the notion that more is more. Slonem likes repeating images in a work, whether it is multiple birds, butterflies, flowers, monkey faces, orbs or rabbits. Hunt Slonem will repeat an idea in every medium and composition until he has satiated his artistic need to express that image.

This year, during our annual studio visit to hand select works for our gallery exhibition, Hunt surprised us with revisiting some of the older subjects he had on hiatus for years. That’s why this exhibition is more than just rabbits/bunnies. We have selected for you the works we liked the best in his studio and have a collection of bayous, birds, butterflies, and really fabulous portraits this year.

The Artsperts 

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