of fancy” occur regularly in the works of Hunt Slonem —
literally. One of the world’s most renowned painters of exotic
birds and other wildlife, the artist and his avian art bring the beauty
and spiritual essence of a variety of winged marvels to life. “The
colors, forms and personalities of tropical birds have always held
a fascination for me,” Slonem says.
While his current inspiration comes from the 30 “models”
residing in his New York loft — Slonem has kept a colorful mix
of parrots, toucans and more throughout his career — his early
interest originated from his exposure to multiple exotic locales.
Born to a Navy father, Slonem spent his childhood in a variety of
different states, including Hawaii, where he first noticed exotic
birds and other animals. “As a teenager, I spent six months
in Nicaragua as an exchange student, where I explored its jungles,”
Slonem says. “Later, during college, I lived in Mexico for a
It was there that Slonem first incorporated cultural and spiritual
influences into his paintings — elements that turned into ongoing
themes in his art. “My present works actually evolved from my
early paintings of birds with saints,” Slonem says.
Thus, his initial subject matter transformed into a focus on birds
and butterflies as ethereal symbols, displayed through a subtle grid
pattern that represents more than just the bars of a cage. “The
grid symbolizes a breaking down of form, pure energy and higher consciousness,”
Slonem says. “And the vibrant tones of the animals themselves,
as seen through the grid, communicate a plea to protect such natural
Locally, Slonem is represented by the Elaine Baker Gallery in the
Gallery Center in Boca Raton, who is showing his work through April
13, 2006. Visit their website at www.elainebakergallery.com, or call
561/241-3050. Or, visit www.huntslonem.com.