Sterling Hundley :: “Emergent”

by | Sep 9, 2009 | ART

Sterling Hundley has his first solo show up at Ghostprint Gallery. He took time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions that were on my mind.

Sterling Hundley has his first solo show up at Ghostprint Gallery. He took time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions that were on my mind.

R. Anthony Harris: Sterling, you have a successful career as an illustrator with national level clients and multiple awards from Society Of Illustrators. Why transition into the fine art world now?

Sterling Hundley: I’ve been giving this direction a lot of thought for quite some time. Artistically, illustration has fulfilled many of my creative ambitions. I’ve developed a reputation for making my own images within the context and parameters of commissions. Still, I’ve been intrigued by the space, time and subtlety that a gallery venue can provide, which is missing from illustration. Additionally, I want to see what I can bring to life when I am the author through the entire process, including the inception of the project. This type of work allows me to solve my own problems, which has always been governed by a client, to a certain degree.

Are your creative influences different when doing fine art to those that inspired you as an illustrator?

For the most part, they remain the same. I am more and more open to new inspiration every day, though. I’ve always been influenced by painters, sculptors, and writers, as much as illustrators. The sculptor Bernini, Picasso, Schiele, Klimt, Degas, Bonnard, are all major influences. The careers and lives of Gary Kelley, and Mark English, are hugely influential on me, as well. The scope of the work of Matthew Barney also intrigues me.

You have taught at the Illustrator Academy and VCU, do you find yourself feeling like a student again with this new direction?

What I am searching for in the new work, is an element of surprise, and discovery. I want the end of the process to be as interesting for me as it is for someone seeing it for the first time. As a result, I’ve taken everything that I’ve learned about image making, and turned it upside down. The process that I am pursuing works from the specific to the general, has involved very little traditional sketching, drawing, or reference, and as a result, I’ve enjoyed the entire process immensely, and yes, I feel like I am learning anew.

The press release states you are working from 3″ x 3″ blocks and putting them together to form the complete piece. Does that make the ideas more manageable? What is the thought behind this particular approach?

It doesn’t make it more manageable. Actually, by introducing chaos at the inception, through the monotype process, I am forced to react to the surface, not try to control it. The end result is a product that I don’t feel completely responsible for. It has a life of it’s own, and this separation is very healthy for future growth. I wanted to make this departure from drawing, which I am known for, because I’ve always felt that drawing is the least important part of what I do. Drawing, and other elements should compliment the content, not distract from it.

Do you find abstraction hard after so many representational assignments in the illustration world?

It required me to tap into a different part of my brain. To become reactionary vs. controlling. I intend for the images to walk the threshold between abstraction and representational work. The greatest gift that I have been given as an artist is the ability to see things that others look past. This way of working requires me to study random mark making, the difference between positive and negative shapes, and to create content with them by compiling and painting into them. I become an editor of my own work, finding it necessary to remove marks for others to comprehend my intent. In each painting, I used a “key”, or an element which serves as a gateway into abstraction. An ear, a pattern, an eye, or an ear tag, invite people to see what may have otherwise been passed over as abstraction. It is a tedious line to walk, and I’ve very much enjoyed the challenge.

Why did you pick Ghostprint Gallery as the spot for your first fine arts show?

I feel that Ghostprint Gallery is open to more than one type of work. They are showcasing the work of talented picture makers, regardless of medium, status, or discipline. They were willing to take a chance with me, understanding that I would deliver something that I believed in, even if it differed from the work that they were familiar with.

I was interested in pricing the work so that people who had supported me for the past ten years commercially, were able to walk away with their first piece of original art. Additionally, I wanted to try a new model for building and selling the work from the “anon” series, which tied in with the subject matter, scale, process and pricing of what I was trying to accomplish. Everyone who purchased something from this show, will receive an invitation to my next Preview. At that time, four 3” x 3” squares can be traded in for a 6” x 6” piece, four 6” x 6” pieces can be traded up for a 1’ x 1’ piece from the new series, and so on. All that I ask in return is for people to use the work as their avatar for their social media. The idea is that collectors of my work have a vested interest in my future, and I have an obligation to continue to create new, better, more complex works that grow in value. I am setting up a forum associated with my website, where individuals can find each other, exchange, buy/sell/trade artwork.

Ghostprint Gallery loved the idea, and we will see how the trade-ups manifest for my next show with them in September of 2010. I plan to continue this series for quite some time.

From here, I’m going to approach galleries in New York, California, and Europe. It is exciting to have a body of work that I am proud of, which serves as a new starting point.


For more information on Sterling Hundley go to

“Emergent”, The debut solo show of painter Sterling Clinton Hundley opens September 4th at Ghostprint Gallery in Richmond, VA. The artist will be in attendance

Ghostprint Gallery 220 West Broad Street Richmond, VA 23220 (804)344.1557

R. Anthony Harris

R. Anthony Harris

I created Richmond, Virginia’s culture publication RVA Magazine and brought the first Richmond Mural Project to town. Designed the first brand for the Richmond’s First Fridays Artwalk and promoted the citywide “RVA” brand before the city adopted it as the official moniker. I threw a bunch of parties. Printed a lot of magazines. Met so many fantastic people in the process. Professional work:

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