Probably the best word to describe my art is “hybrid.” I like to mix the unmixable – rock and Bach, sandals and socks, cats and water. I draw upon multiple sources, taking images from art history, cartoons and found images of various sorts. The mix can be incongruous. A cartoon figure can crop up next to a piece of an old master painting; a folk-art Madonna can be found huddled among abstract de Kooning shapes.
Sometimes the references are covert: you have to solve the mystery from titles or clues within the picture. This is often the world of parody. For instance, I did a series that uses the cozy cottages and garden scenes of the horribly saccharine painter Thomas Kinkade. You might not get the parody, but I’m satisfied that it’s in there somewhere, the thing that gave me a reason to paint the painting.
Other times I treat seriously things that are not normally taken as serious. I did cartoony “portraits” of Joe E. Brown, a strange-looking comedian from the mid-20th century. A group of self-portraits takes the form of memorializing busts, those disembodied heads of famous people that you see everywhere.
Overall, it’s mostly comedic with hints of the tragic wafting through at unexpected moments. I take it all very seriously.
Richard Huntington is a writer, printmaker, and painter who divides his time between Buffalo, N.Y. and San Miguel de Allende, Gto. Born in Albany, N.Y. in 1936, Huntington received a BFA from Syracuse University in 1959 and an MFA in 1963. He is Art Critic Emeritus at The Buffalo News and the author of a yet-to-be-published novel called “An Art Critic Walks Into a Bar.” His art has been in numerous exhibitions in the U.S. and abroad.