Denizen of the scrap yard
Denizen of the scrap yard
In 2021, I was chosen by the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) as one of 12 local artists to be featured in the exhibit, "Nourish."DENIZEN OF THE SCRAP YARD My brother, Mark Hundley, took this portrait of me at Bobby Chenman's scrap yard in Norfolk, Va in 2014. Before he sold the business in 2017, I loved roaming the yard there, letting my mind wander. I was able to hallucinate drug-free, completely absorbed in the moment, seeing all the wonderful things around me – not for what they were, but for what they might become!
WHRO AND THE SCENE PRESENT "Sam Hundley, An American Scrap Artist" In 2016, Hyunsoo Leo Kim, a very talented photojournalist and longtime friend at The Virginian-Pilot, created THIS 6-MINUTE VIDEO PROFILE of me for the local public television station. I was the first in a series of video portraits of local artists. This will help explain what I do.
BIO: I was born in Phoenix on Sept. 26, 1958, and was inspired from a very young age to be an artist by my parents, who enjoyed creating folk art – seasonal decorations, quilts, puppets, masks – out of everyday household items. I learned to improvise.
While studying commercial art at the University of Arizona in Tucson, I landed a part-time job at The Arizona Daily Star, which launched a career spanning 39 years and 5 newspapers across the country. I caught the wave of newspaper design at its ascendancy and thrived as an artist in that intoxicating hive where everyone pitched in to communicate ideas clearly, creatively and quickly. And the decades flew by because it was fun.
I met Lynndale Pierce in Seattle, married Jan. 19, 1986, in Norfolk, VA and raised two daughters, Lucy and Claire.
I began collecting found objects (metal debris, road gloves, flattened cans, etc.) in 1990 while working at the San Jose Mercury News and in Oct. 2009, back in Virginia, I began devoting myself to creating art using these things. It was like a faucet being turned on full blast. My first solo exhibition was in 2012 and I’ve shown my work at local galleries several times since.
Since my retirement from The Virginian-Pilot in Dec. 2017, I spend most of my time in my home studio, where I illustrated and designed the 2019 Meat Puppets album, “Dusty Notes," designed an e-book for kids, “Scrap Art Alphabet” (2018) and created my first children’s books, “Gifts of the Magpie,” released March 1, 2021 and "Tag and the Magic Squeaker," due out in early 2022.
In 2020, I was chosen by the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) as one of 12 local artists to be featured in their 2021 exhibit, "Nourish."
ARTIST STATEMENT: I am a retired newspaper designer, author of books for children, and self-described American scrap artist. I create folk art out of found objects.
I collect things that look interesting to me, without preconceptions. Once an object suggests an idea to me, it tends to be fully formed in my mind. The resulting piece is usually composed of very few elements, which I assemble with Goop adhesive, screws, nails, wire, nuts, and bolts. I do not weld, which forces me to work smaller and lighter.
After a lifetime of illustrating and soaking up American culture, pareidolia (a healthy form of hallucination) has become second nature and part of my routine. It is important that the objects retain as much of their integrity as possible, independent of the finished assemblage. Ideally, a viewer will see the composite and the separate objects simultaneously, which will ignite a spark of recognition, much like what I felt at the beginning of the process. That spark often surprises me, which compels me to keep at it.