Abstract Art Goes Digital
Having his work in galleries and private collections in the US and Europe, artist and photographer Michael Hunter finds inspiration from texture, colour and music to create stunning digital collages
Lancashire born artist Michael Hunter is enjoying international success with his work that is constantly evolving.
Michael experienced a particularly productive spell during lockdown, though he says creative periods can occur at any time: “I have moments when I start a new piece or go to something I’ve been working on previously, and I can get into a creative zone where nothing else matters. I enjoy times like those so much as I switch off from normal day to day life.”
Having graduated in 1994 with a Fine Art degree from UCLan at Cumbria College of Art and Design, Michael has persevered to enjoy the success he is seeing today. Like many artists, he had dreams of becoming a professional, but in 2000 he changed tack and started a successful taxi business. Often on long drives he would think about his art: “I would be driving in the middle of the night along a quiet motorway listening to music, and I would start to think about my art again and how much I missed it.”
In 2012, following a spell of not producing any work, Michael once again started to create art and slowly began to develop his style: “I had started out as a traditional artist. I love the outdoors so I would take my sketch book and paint and draw landscapes. I spend a lot of time on the coast and I get a lot of inspiration there.”
Initially inspired by the landscape works of British painter David Bomberg, Michael’s style began to evolve: “Bomberg’s vivid and expressive style appealed to me at the time.”
More recently, Michael has looked to the work of Japanese sumi ink artist Toko Shinoda as a source of inspiration: “I particularly like the way she applies confident brush strokes in a spontaneous manner, and like myself, she is influenced by nature.”
Over time, Michael’s work has developed into a fully abstract style. He recalls moving from painting and drawing to digital collages: “I had always loved photography and I would go out and about with my camera. I realised I could combine painting and photography, blending textures, marks and colours into compositions. When I’m working, music has a large part to play and can sometimes dictate the way a piece is formed. There is something special and exciting about creating through feelings and emotion. It is a deeply personal process. Abstract expressionism for me has endless possibilities.”
Having travelled to art fairs all over the UK in previous years, Michael also has many followers on Instagram and has sold his work to collectors in America and Europe. He has exhibited in prestigious galleries in London and in cities throughout the UK, and he also works with interior designers who appreciate his unique, contemporary style. His work has also been featured in a prestigious UK interiors magazine.
“My art has been very much a journey for me,” explains Michael. “Just like any other artist who may have canvasses stacked up in a studio waiting to be finished, I have digital files that I have started that I can go back to. I always save them so I can revisit them, often working on them with a new enthusiasm and with new ideas.”
Michael, a member of the Guild Society of Artists, produces limited editions printed on fine art paper using high quality pigmented inks. These are hand signed and come with a certificate of authentication: “These would be what I would call my ‘gallery’ work. They are more collectable and produced in low edition numbers.”
He also produces open edition ‘poster prints’ for those who want a piece of art at a more affordable price.
Michael feels that he remains true to his traditional artistic background: “There is sometimes a misconception about digital art in that it isn’t a true art medium, and that it can’t possibly be an expressive process in the same way as painting or drawing. However, for me personally, every piece is filled with passion and emotion. I hope my work moves and inspires those who enjoy viewing it just as much as I have been moved and inspired to create it.”