I could not be more excited about today’s blog post. If you’ve followed awhile (especially on Instagram), then you probably know by now that I am Hunt Slonem’s super fan. I love his work… especially the bunnies. I have all of his books, I bought his wallpaper and had it framed, I like every Instagram, and so on and so forth. MAJOR FAN. On a whim, I decided to DM him on Instagram (his feed is amazing BTW) to see if I could coordinate a studio visit. I’d heard that the space was amazing, and figured it was a long shot… but what the hell… sometimes you need to take a chance! I was pleasantly shocked when his team got back to me minutes later, inviting me in! I was so, so excited.
Also – I know that this post is a little different than usual… would love to hear if you’d like to see more art features! Art is one of my biggest passions but I don’t talk about that a lot on the blog… let me know! (And if not, that’s cool too!) And I’m sorry for the photo overload… Trent was as excited as I was and gave me back over a hundred beautiful, edited photos from the day… it was really hard to narrow it down. Hopefully you love them as much as I do… total eye candy.
What blew my mind about the space was that it wasn’t just Hunt’s art. The space is packed with incredible antique furniture, plants, birds (yes living ones!!), hats (Hunt is a huge collector)… it’s one of the most inspiring places I’ve ever visited.
Hunt has lived with birds as a child… and has had up to 200 birds at a time! He learned so much about birds from bird keepers and being in the tropics + being fascinated by toucans. And I learned a lot about birds from him… did you know that parrots can live up to 100 years?! And… supposedly, Winston Churchill had one that lived to be 175 years old!
I got the chance to sit down with Hunt and ask him a few questions.
When I asked him about his use of color, his face lit up.
“To me, color is like candy… every time I go to a paint store I take like 50,000 chips to play with and study and hold them up.”
When I asked Hunt about the bunnies and how he got started, I was fascinated by his response.
He started with religious paintings… he’d been an exchange student in Nicaragua in high school and brought back all these holy cards and started painting off of them. The bunnies started as groups of rabbits. Hunt later got excited about Victorian portrait frames and started doing little paintings to fill them in. The rabbits became a standalone thing, and eventually a study. From there, he also started painting butterflies and birds.
Even though Hunt is an artist and not a designer (duh), I was so inspired by the space he created. So I asked him to share a few design tips for those of us looking to update our space. I loved his tips!
* Beige is overrated. (I so agree!)
* Large paintings can actually look really incredible in smaller environments – they become a mural!
* Color can be really powerful. A yellow bedroom is very pleasant. As red is so stimulating it can be great for a sitting room or dining room.
* Save old things and give them new life by getting them reupholstered with a beautiful fabric. He didn’t tell me to plug it, but Hunt’s fabrics for Lee Jofa are amazing. My friend Sally used them to decorate her nursery and I am absolutely obsessed with how it turned out!
I bought my first bunny (the turquoise one with diamond dust, that I’m holding above). It’s probably my favorite possession – no kidding. And I say “my first,” as I definitely plan on building up a little collection.