ANTHONY HURD

ANTHONY HURD
interview / liz rice mccray

Anthony describes his work as a selfish endeavor of exploring his own personal demons and understanding the ever-changing landscapes of life, a way of expressing sometimes the inexpressible. Since the loss of his sister ten 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 cyclical nature of life, the rise and fall, the destruction and rebirth, the dark and light. Fighting depression and anxiety with introspection and personal growth, the work is a bit of a celebration of survival, and the depths of darkness that have revealed his own personal greatest truths. Namely, that most everything he thought about himself is unfounded, untrue, that life is the unknown, that he is an emotional being. His connection with the world is to be determined by his own actions and pursuit. 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.

Favorite question to ask, where are you at this present moment? So we have a visual during our interview.
Haha, I’m sitting in my living room, watching old episodes of RuPaul’s Drag Race, with the dog at my feet, boyfriend at my side, a living room full of left over mess from a weekend with the kiddo, and a pot of chili cooking in the kitchen. Domesticity.

Sounds lovely, your artist profile is pretty moving, will you tell our reader a little about yourself what makes you tick? 
I guess what makes me tick is always changing. I’m just always trying to find my center. I am very driven to find and remain in some form of authenticity and truth, which isn’t always easy. I’ve had more than my shares of ups and downs over the years but it seems to somehow always fuel me with the incentive to push forward and pursue things I love and enjoy. Life is difficult, it’s riddled with suffering and pain but there are so many rewards along the way too. So many great people and touching stories, everyone a mirror of sorts, showing me aspects of life I need to cultivate and aspects I need to let go of.

Your paintings could almost be mistaken as digital; will you talk about the creative process? 
My process is pretty open really. I generally don’t go in with many ideas or preconceived notions on where it’ll go. I like to lay paint down and start pulling out shapes, and building on them, let the landscapes build out of the chaos and run with it. There are times when I go in with a specific idea in mind but I leave it open to change and allow a lot of room for plenty of improvising.

 How does your commercial work inform your studio practice or vice versa? Or do you keep them completely separate?
They stay pretty separate. I didn’t paint for about ten years while my design career was getting going and I reached back out to art as an escape from that world mostly. While there are elements that cross over in terms of some aesthetics I tend to be a lot more experimental with my artwork and a lot less structured.

Will you tell us about your commercial design work and some of your projects?
My design work has spanned a lot of different areas. I worked primarily on movies websites and advertising for years, then moved more into broadcast commercials and television work, and the last few years have been a lot more brand focused. I still do storyboards and concept work but I tend to do a lot more general brand exploration and development. Seeing how marks and brands can evolve over the length of a campaign.

What artists are you really into right now?
I’m always fascinated with Erik Jones. He takes so many risks in his process and explores so many shapes and colors. I just love how vibrant all of his work is. Robert Hardgrave is one of my lifetime favorites. He is another one who just pushes mark making, shapes and compositions to such great heights. I like a lot of really expressive painters as well but I couldn’t narrow that down to anyone specific at the moment.

We featured Erik awhile back and really enjoy his work. And we should feature Robert Hardgrave. Can you tell us where can people check out more of your art?
My Instagram, @anthonyhurd, is where I post the most, and my personal website at www.anthonyhurd.com is where I post all my most recent works at a larger scale too. I’m starting to do open studio tours once a month here in Austin as well, where people can come in and see my works in progress in person, which is fun.

Any last words for our readers?
Do what makes you happy. Remember that not everyone is going to care, enjoy or support you on that path. Deal with life on life’s terms. Meaning shit is going to go down and there is nothing you can do to change that, accept it, let it go, move through it. What we resist persists. These are the lessons I’m tackling yet again for myself, seems like it’s what I see the most in others as well.

Very well said, thank you so much for taking the time to answer our questions.
Thank you!