Imagine the studio of an artist who rejected the art scene in England twenty five years ago, escaped to Italy and went into a relative state of isolation with the singular purpose of producing his art.
Each completed piece of work, after an impressive series of elaborate and expensive processes (including being printed on his own antique printing press) is put into its private hiding place, away from the eyes of the world. After so many years of production there is not a square centimeter of area on any wall of this magical studio where another sketch, study or completed work can be displayed. It is a warehouse as much as a studio. But it is an inspiring space, which smells of creativity, dense with the life work of Arthur Hunter Blair.
A year ago Arthur was invited to show his work at the Hartlepool Gallery in England as one of the “Friends” of John McCracken the painter and poet, in a gargantuan exhibition entitled “Friends and Influences”. A couple of the “Influences” got all the publicity and attention (Freud, Bacon) while the “Friends” were relegated to the back burners of the stove. Nothing much had changed since back in the sixties, seventies and eighties when he was part of the art world showing, exhibiting and expecting viewers to think for themselves about the work presented to them instead of obediently seeking out and blindly following celebrities. But one important thing came of his participating in the show. Arthur made a decision to offer some of his work to the public, his buried treasure. He calls it “Portfolio Society”, and his black and white prints from wood carvings are featured in this idea. If you visit his website you can understand the details of “Portfolio Society” and participate in it.
A handsome and very young looking man, Arthur wears a hoop earring and is the classic rebellious artist: he rejects the “celebrity centered” international art scene; he is a mechanical engineer against progress; a Zen monk against religion; He doesn’t like to have his photo taken and we had to cajole him into accepting a dark, silhouette style depiction of himself. He is a man who knows that his legacy has taken shape, and that now is the time to unveil it.
Here we present some images of the space where Arthur Hunter Blair has focused his attention on important themes including mythology, religion, philosophy, physics, and nature. The relationship between Life and Death is a recurring theme in Arthur’s work. He sees a dissolution of the line between the two, they become one in his mind and in his studio.
You can go to www.the-mag.org to see more images of Arthur’s work and to find his contact information.