'Follow Your Own Path' with Ronald Hunter

'Follow Your Own Path' with Ronald Hunter

December 16, 2019

Ronald Hunter is a contemporary Dutch artist whose work has been exhibited throughout his home country of the Netherlands. Before turning full time to painting, Ronald worked as a graphic designer and this influence is evidenced through his use of typography and graphic art when creating his works. His signature style is colourful, layered abstract paintings which translate an energy and mood to the canvas, whilst at the same time allowing space for the viewers interpretation of the work. 



What initially drew you towards becoming an artist?

I went to the art academy, but asked myself “Can I make a living out of this?”. My initial answer was “No”, so I decided to start as a graphic designer. I did that for many years, but always had a wish to create something of my own that I could turn into a business. I explored furniture, clothing, accessories.. It’s funny in hindsight because while I was exploring opportunities, I always painted, but it never occurred to me I could turn that into a profitable business. Some said I was crazy, but I decided to sell my art. But although I create art every day, I don’t see myself as an artist, but more as an art entrepreneur.

How would you describe your own personal style?

I mostly work in abstract and modern styles, it gives me a lot of freedom to experiment with form and color. As an artist, I think it’s important to have your signature style. And although there is a lot of freedom in creating abstract & modern, I create my art according to a set of rules. They give me guidance in what I want to make. For instance, in my abstract work I build the colors with layering of acrylic paint, and I use light texture to add depth.


What inspires you in your work, is there a driving factor that draws you to the easel?

I run an art business, so art has to be made every day. I rarely experience an “off”-day, or that I don’t feel like painting. I practice my skills every day; that is what is so satisfying by painting; with practice you become better.

When it comes to creating your work, do you have a preferred medium, certain types of brushes or tools you love to use?

My paintings are always built up from many layers of paint. I prefer to use acrylic paint for that, because it dries the fastest.

When it comes to the subject matter of your work, what draws you to those themes?

I have a background in graphic design, and I like to play with shapes and typographic form in my work. Bright neon colors are often part of the color palette.

For my pop art portraits, I rarely use famous faces, I want the face to be neutral for the viewer. It is not important who the person is, I want people to experience the whole image, the interaction of colors, shapes and face. The way the lines play a role in the experience of the face is interesting to me. You wonder: am I looking at the shapes or the face? It’s clearly a face, but it shouldn’t be too distracting from the whole.


Could you describe the process behind your art? How do you get from concept to execution?

Ideas grow, and some I will work things out in my mind before it’s transferred on the canvas. And since I have done so much already, there are many visuals in my mind that I can follow, based on previous work.

Could you describe your normal day as an artist? Have you set routines and rituals or is a more a case of when the moment is right you work?

I like to make an early start, and I work on a tight schedule. I usually know what I will create that week (outside of commissions that might come in). It is often a schedule that is impossible to meet, so if I get 70% done, I am happy. Trying out new things is also part of my routine, that takes up a lot of time as well.


When you work, do you focus on one piece at a time until completion or are you working on multiple pieces at the same time?

I usually work on multiple pieces at a time.

Which of your artworks are you most proud off?

I am most proud of my failures. My best paintings actually started as a failure, because they turned out different from what I intended. But they evolved over time into what they are today. For example, my ‘Once’ art series, I added the wrong kind of texture to my painting but decided to add even more to see what would happen. A completely new artwork appeared before me, and it turned into a successful art series.

Also for ‘Panels’, I never would have thought of creating a painting series like that. But quite a lot of people admired the wooden table I used to work on, which was covered in layers of paint. I decided to create a painting similar to the table, and it turns out to be an endless source of inspiration for me.


Is there a fellow artist alive today that you admire? If so, why?

I admire artists who follow their own path and are good in driving their own business. KAWS is an example of a contemporary artist that’s very successful at this time.

What challenges do you feel the 21st century artist has to overcome?

Online gives a lot of opportunities to build your image and engage with your audience, but it also brings a lot of extra work. Creating art is not enough, 50% or even more is the rest; marketing your artworks, knowing how to tell your story.

What advice would you give to a young aspiring artist currently studying art?

Well, build a name and good reputation. Everything is out there for everyone to see, so make sure you keep your promises and stay close to the reality of what you sell. Also, sell your art at a reasonable price. I often see artists selling their work for over €1000 but haven’t made a name for themselves yet. I am a strong believer you need to start small and work your way up. And most important, don’t give up on something you believe in! It might take a few years before you catch your buyers’ attention.


What are you working on at the moment?

2020 will be an exciting year for me. I am working on a lot of new ideas. I am, for instance, expanding my own projects, with custom art in collaboration with design professionals.

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