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November 8, 2006

Hunter Jonakin

As an artist I am interested in the technical aspects of rendering and creating. When I was younger I was drawn to the surrealist painters because of their use of dream imagery and also because they excelled at the technical aspects of painting. After studying these painters I learned that the artists of the Renaissance influenced most of the surrealists. I, in turn, began to study the painters of the Renaissance. I gravitate toward the artists of the northern Renaissance because of their attention to detail. In particular I like Hans Holbein the younger and Jan Van Eyck. I am attracted to combining the detail and craft of these artists with contemporary contexts and symbols.

An aspect of the everyday world that influences my work is the notion of time and history. I like to capture the passing of time on a single frame of a photograph. I try to find ways to manufacture new methods of seeing the world as it relates to the passage of time and how the human brain decodes it. I usually use an open shutter technique, an infrared filter, or a combination of the two to achieve this end. This is another example of the technical aspect of my work. These techniques, while not necessarily ground breaking, still involve a great deal of time to set up and expose properly. This process interests me almost as much as the subject matter itself.

This brings me to the discussion of materials. I draw great inspiration and sometimes frustration from experimenting with new materials. This is another reason I am attracted to the artists of the Renaissance. They spent countless hours finding the perfect recipe for medium so that they could achieve the most desirable translucence in their paintings. I draw inspiration from experimenting with new materials and I am excited by new technology and its different uses. I would consider myself a computer advocate and a technology buff. I took two semesters in 3D animation because I was obsessed and tormented by the most complex piece of software that I had ever laid eyes on. The software is called Maya and it consists of menus layered in menus layered in menus layered in menus. Its complexity is only matched by its ability to produce anything that one can imagine, in a virtual setting. Maya allows me to digitally re-create a realistic and animated world, and it is this ability that intrigues and inspires me. Linear and conventional methods do not spark my curiosity, but utilizing the program for a high art purpose is more to my taste. I am excited by the possibilities than can occur when compositing 3D animation onto video footage and I like the flexibility and endless options that this combination supplies.

Aside from expensive, modern software, my choices for materials have gone back to the basics and I have enjoyed using charcoal, graphite and oil paints again. I feel that there is a reason that artists have used these materials for centuries. Their simplicity strikes a chord in people and there is an instant resonance that is produced when an audience views works made with traditional materials.

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