Shawn Hunt’s practice hinges on the traditional practice of formline, yet makes it uniquely his own. In a distinctive palette of rich blacks and blues against which grey and white seem to jump out at the viewer, providing depth, Hunt brings new subversion to this artform, exploring its narrative potential. Trained as a carver before branching out into painting, his creative background is evident in the relief-like dimensionality of his works, unusual in a style that’s typically more flat. We exhibited his work in ‘Line as Language’, a 2016 solo show, and his Façade 2017 presentation will expand on those works, enlarging and combining them to tell ancient stories at an unprecedented scale. 

Burrard Arts Foundation: Can you tell us a bit about your artistic practice and background?

Shawn Hunt: I live and work in Roberts Creek and Sechelt BC. I have a diploma in studio art from Capilano college and a BFA from the University of British Columbia. I have also completed a 4 year apprenticeship in carving, design, and jewelry carving with my father, Heiltsuk artist Bradley Hunt, as well as a 3 year apprenticeship in painting with coast Salish artist Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun. I am represented by Macaulay Fine Art in Vancouver BC.

Work by Shawn Hunt in his 2016 show at BAF Gallery, Line as Language.

BAF: Describe your project for Façade Festival 2017.

SH: For Façade Fest I am continuing to explore the traditional form line art form of the Heiltsuk people in new and unconventional ways. Several of the images are from my 2016 exhibition at BAF entitled ‘Line As Language.’ In this presentation I have created a couple of new paintings that, when placed together in sequence, comprise an abstract narrative about the revealing of the inter-dimensional or spirit world by the light of the moon.

BAF: Have you ever worked in video art or projection mapping before? To what extent was working with this technology a new experience for you?

One of the works created for the upcoming festival, courtesy of the artist’s Instagram.

SH: I haven’t worked in this medium before. My practice is admittedly quite low tech. However I have been working on this project at the same time as a technology based project with Microsoft, and may do more of that in the future.

BAF: Is your Façade idea an entirely new project or are you further developing existing themes?

SH: I am continuing to explore the use of formline to tell stories.

BAF: Your work will be projected over the entire façade of the Vancouver Art Gallery. Have you ever worked in such a large scale before? What has been exciting, and challenging, about the process?

SH: This is the largest scale I have worked in. It’s always exciting to work in a new medium, as I’m always looking for new ways to explore making art.


See Shawn Hunt’s projection mapped artwork in Façade Festival 2017 – it will be shown from 7:30PM to Midnight on Monday, September 4th, as well as in the encore presentations on September 9th and 10th.