100 Creatives

41: James B. Hunt

When we last put the spotlight on 100 creative forces in Phoenix, it was no secret there were more than 100 individuals who were making waves in the local arts community. So as we count down to our annual Best of Phoenix issue, we're profiling 100 more. Welcome (back) to 100 Creatives.

James B. Hunt leaves plenty behind. The local painter creates map-inspired and colorful portraits of human animals that have shown in galleries -- he says his first non-student show was at Alwun House in the mid-90s -- but he hides most of his work throughout Phoenix and leaves clues to their whereabouts on his website.

"I got into rock collecting about ten years ago. I spent a lot of my free time wandering in the desert looking for semi-precious stones," he says. It was there that I was introduced to a whole underground culture of desert-dwelling scavengers who were out there looking for all kinds of bizarre stuff. There were glass bottle collectors, bone collectors, tarantula hunters, gold miners, survivalists, all kinds of crazy guys. That's how I got the idea to start hiding my paintings. I began replacing the rocks I took with little paintings, and signed them with my web address. After about a year of doing this, people began finding them and contacting me. Eventually I just decided to start hiding them around town and see if anybody would care enough to want to pick them up."

As far as Hunt knows, there are currently 188 of his paintings hiding throughout Maricopa County.

I came to Phoenix with ... my family at a very young age.

I make art because ... When things are falling apart, or even if I'm just a little depressed, painting is the first thing I do. It's a coping mechanism.

I'm most productive when ... I'm alone.

My inspiration wall is full of ... Pictures of tiny houses, a bird mask that Tom Deadstuff made for me, which I sometimes wear when I'm doing live painting gigs, an old tract from The Process Church of the Final Judgement, pictures of birds, pictures of patients who were given face transplants, pictures of raw meat at various stages of decomposition, several pictures of tarantulas, a vinyl monkey sticker that my buddy Kento made, a shelf containing various geodes and gemstones that I've found from all over the state, and a framed photograph of David Koresh.

I've learned the most from ... my own stupid mistakes.

Good work should always ... Be finished. If this were any other day, I might have something more metaphysical to say on the subject, but I just came from seeing a show where half the paintings displayed large backgrounds of unpainted canvas white. This is not acceptable. Finish your paintings before you hang them. If you want a white background, you're going to have to pick up your white and use it. Fill every inch of that canvas before deciding to put it in a show.

The Phoenix creative scene could use more ... More willing participants. More footwork. More venues. Less despair. Less complaining that Phoenix isn't the cultural oasis that New York is. We have a very interesting thing here with a lot of potential. We're in the middle of the desert. Things are just a bit complicated right now. Those complications will work themselves out if we're willing to do a little heavy lifting.

The Creatives, so far ... (And while you're here, check out 100 Tastemakers on Chow Bella.)

100:Lara Plecas 99. Isaac Caruso 98. Brandon Gore 97. Kelsey Dake 96. Hector Ruiz 95. Caroline Battle 94: Jennifer Campbell 93. Jeff Chabot 92. Tiffiney Yazzie 91. Daniel Germani 90. Irma Sanchez 89. Daniel m. Davis 88. Kirstin Van Cleef 87. Emmett Potter 86. Sarah Hurwitz 85. Christine Cassano 84. Fred Tieken 83. Lindsay Kinkade 82. Ruben Galicia 81. Robert Uribe 80. Heidi Abrahamson 79. Josephine Davis 78. Travis Ladue 77. Taz Loomans 76. Mikey Jackson 75. Alex Empty 74. Joe Ray 73. Carol Roque 72. Daniel Funkhouser 71. Carla Chavarria 70. Hugo Medina 69. Cavin Costello 68. Claire Carter 67. Lindsay Tingstrom 66. Catherine Ruane 65. Christopher Crosby 64. Aaron Johnson 63. Brenda Eden 62. Colton Brock 61. Ernesto Moncada 60. Benjamin Phillips 59. Brad Armstrong 58. Angela Hardison 57. Tyler Quinn 56. Andrew James Benson 55. Charles Anthony Darr 54: Tiffe Fermaint 53. Eric Cox 52. Victor Vasquez 51. John Randall Nelson 50. Lauren Lee 49. Kyle Jordre 48. Julie C. Kent 47. Sean Deckert 46. Niba DelCastillo 45. Joseph Benesh 44. Ashley Harder 43. Dan Vermillion 42. Daniel Shepherd Follow Jackalope Ranch on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

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Claire Lawton
Contact: Claire Lawton