Get To Know Austin-Based Artist Anthony Hurd
Brought to you by our partner at Talenthouse
Anthony Hurd (@anthonyhurd) describes his work as "a selfish endeavor of exploring his own personal demons and understanding the ever-changing landscapes of life." Since the loss of his sister 10 years ago, and a series of unfortunate events including the end of an 18-year relationship following, life has been a seeming test of survival mentally, physically and spiritually. The motifs change over time but currently the works he's pursuing focus on the cyclical nature of life, the rise and fall, the destruction and rebirth, the dark and light. You can learn more about Anthony on his website.
Interviewer Alexi Ueltzen (@alexi) is Ello's Social Media and Email manager. She has a deep appreciation for mountains, good books, and weird art. She lives in Evergreen, CO with her two butthead dogs, hedgehog, and husband. Who is not a butthead.
Can you tell us a little bit about your path to becoming an artist?
It’s been an interesting ride I suppose. I started painting at a young age and my only real dream as far as a career goes was to be an artist. Life has other plans usually though. After high school, I lived in tight quarters with other teens and moved around considerably around Kansas City Missouri. At 21 I moved to LA just to get out of the Midwest. As someone who grew up skateboarding I always had California dreams so it was awesome. I felt into a graphic design job a couple years later and that pretty much all sidetracked my art for a solid 10+ years. I felt that since design was creative, it would be enough, but I was wrong. I wanted to make a special gift for a friends wedding and that was the first time I had painted in 12 years or so. I just never stopped after that. I’ve gone through a lot of stylistic shifts and changed directions a couple times in the process of trying to find who I was as an artist. I still make shifts regularly now. it’s part of my process, change that is, so I always allow it to be.
Some (okay, a lot) of your work marries incredibly detailed, natural textures and shapes with super-clean geometric elements. How much experimentation does it take to create that balance...or do you just manage to do it instinctively, goddammit?
My work, in general, is all an experiment, always changing. I go into with little to no plan at all. I lay colors down and shapes and see where they go. The geometry comes fairly naturally though. It’s something I’ve always been interested in, shapes, how they meld, and work together, woven in and out of different worlds. Sometimes I stay completely away from it, other times I have to stop myself from going overboard. But in general, geometry is often in specifically to bring balance. Because of the organic nature of m work, and lack of planning, bring in that geometry can really help the composition take shape.
Tell us a little bit about the space(s) in which you create: Do you have a studio? Do you go sketch in public? Lucid dreaming?
I have a studio space. It’s a shared space with 3 other people. It’s part of a big complex of artists of all types. 5 different buildings and about 100 studio spaces I think. I do all my painting there, but that’s fairly new. I’ve been in this space for about 10 months now, but prior to that my studio space was always in my house. It’s nice to have a place to go outside of the house though. I’ve been a lot more productive. I don’t sketch really at all, much less in public. When I do sketch has little to do with my painting at all. I kind of keep that separate. At home, it’s just an iPad pro and an apple pencil. I left my advertising/design career last year and wanted an outlet for my illustration work, so I started doing digital drawings and it’s been a great way for me to explore subjects I probably wouldn’t end up painting. But who knows, maybe someday the two worlds will collide.
You describe your process as “Ever changing, always a work in progress, his work and process are fluid, and changes on a whim, without a plan from its creation, seeing where the roads lead, hoping for a peaceful and educational resolve.” How then, are you ever ready to stop working on a given piece?
I just know when it’s done. Not sure how to explain it. Sometimes it’s just when it needs to be, I physically and emotionally want to move on. Other times, it’s just a feeling, when I’m happy with where I’ve landed. But admittedly, if I leave finished works out in my visual space for too long I may often revisit it if it hasn’t sold and moved on. It happens regularly.
Your work is definitely inspired by some dark themes but still celebrates survival. What kinds of emotions or messages do you want folks to take away from your work?
I don’t want people to take any emotional experience away from viewing my work really. I just put my personal experiences out there because often people want to know what drove me to create such works. I find that people want to relate my work to something visionary, or spiritual, and while I have a lot of my experiences wrapped up in each painting, it’s not something I can ask others to understand. I’m just happy to have an outlet to explore my own inner workings. Sometimes that’s a really dark place, sometimes it’s not. When it is based in darkness, the work is often a reflection of me coming out of it. There are a few pieces that are solely based in sitting in that darkness though. Those were the hardest ones to paint and sit with.
What are some of your must-have tools or supplies?
Music, hundreds of brushes, old and new, destroyed by years of use and perfect and clean. Golden Open Acrylics. Canvas for the large pieces, and wood panels for the smaller pieces.
Can you tell us a little about why you’re on Ello?
Originally? Looking for an escape from Facebook. I think we all are still really. Something that can replace that mess. Ultimately I stayed because it’s mission to be a creative force. I’m curious about the evolution from where Ello is now, because as someone with a design background, I always want to know what’s next, and how to make it better. I really have enjoyed it though, and I’m glad it’s continuing to grow and evolve and find its place in the world.
What advice do you have for artists who are still developing their own perspective/style/voice?
Time, it’s so often time. I struggle because I came from design, and that is something that you often adopt from other references, it’s a process and it’s often based on trends. Don’t apply those things to your art. Trends die and fade. But do what makes you happy, not what gets you likes and follows. It’s really hard not to cater to such attention, I get caught up in regular. But I have to always try and center myself and trust my gut (which is really my heart), not my head.
What are you doing when you’re not creating art?
I’m a homebody. I don’t really go out and do much socially. I live with my partner of 2.5 years and we have his 10-year-old daughter every other weekend, most holidays, and most all of the summer. So life revolved around my family, which isn’t something I ever expected to happen as a gay man, but here I am. They help me evolve as a human and an artist is great ways. We spend most our time at parks, riding bikes, hanging out with our neighbors, watching tv/movies, and hanging out with our pup. We recently adopted a new dog after having had to say goodbye to my dear Darla who was with me for nearly 14 years. I enjoy the simple things these days. A good glass of wine, a couple friends on the back porch, music and good company. Cooking too, I’ve really gotten into cooking these last few years and enjoy cooking for my family and friends.
You can follow Anthony on Ello, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, and his website.