We joined one of our favourite artists Hunto painting on our Chalk Farm Art for Estates project. Hunto has painted all over the world in Spain, Germany, USA, Canada, Italy and the UK . He has recently had an exhibition in London.
Who do you paint for?
In general, I like to paint on community projects like the Art for Estates programme because I am always looking for a chance to paint and made people happy. I paint for people who love art, colours and curiosity. When I paint I feel good! So painting for me is a way to release energy in the hope that afterwards people can see the energy I had through my work. I paint the messages I want to tell people, it’s a way for me to communicate to the public.
What street art made you first want to paint?
I’ve always been interested in art – since I was a baby I believe! I wasn’t inspired by street art, I was inspired by graffiti. I am from a graffiti background. So when I first started I was exposed to the old school graffiti made by people from my city, I saw the painting on trains, the illegal wall bombing; that’s what inspired me. I saw their energy and was thinking “I can be a part of this”.
Were you drawing at that stage, were you interested in art?
Well I started with lettering. Step by step, I realised I wasn’t really a big WIDE STYLE-er in terms on lettering, so I focused more on character, and very simple, synthetic characters at that. At the time I was a big fan of Picasso, so basically I mixed those two things together and I started painting things on the wall.
The cubist influence really shows through your mismatched features and distinctive outlines… How does location affect how you paint?
Different locations mean I can write or draw a different message. I enjoy working on big walls with the space to make scenes with characters; I want to paint a story, a hug, a kiss. But not everybody accepts what you are painting. I am very open to sex and sex objects, painting people naked and in love but when working on a community project, not everyone can be appreciative of that kind of subject or open to these themes. In this way I do need to limit myself depending on the wall. I can’t be 100% free, I can only come close to that with illegal pieces. I think the most freedom was is in illegal pieces when I could paint more of what I love.
Are there certain places or countries that you paint in that you feel more free?
I don’t feel free anywhere, but perhaps the closest I have come to that freedom is in my own country (southern italy) where maybe the people have a different sense of humour. That is where I have felt a little more free to paint sexual themes, but it’s a different culture wherever you paint. The British culture is not necessarily prudish in comparison, it just depends on the audience.
Any painter or artist wants to paint more – that’s normal. Everyone I know wants to paint more and more, bigger walls, more visible spots. I think for street artists, or graffiti artists, the first aim is to be visible and the point is to keep painting.
That success of being able to paint in a more visible place is important?
Yes. I still paint on canvas, but the street remains the best place for people to see what you do, who you are and what you are trying to tell to people. I think any graffiti artist would rather expose their art on the streets than indoors!
Interview by Orlaith O’Byrne