James B. Hunt Answers the YabYum 7

1. Who are you and what do you do?

My name is James B. Hunt. Sometimes I work under the name, “NXOEED”. It depends on how much space I have on the flyer. I’m a visual artist. I hide paintings. There are a little over 200 of them hidden in The Greater Phoenix area right now. I post clues to their whereabouts at operations.tempeart.com.

2. How did you get your start?

I’ve been painting for as long as I can remember. Professionally, I guess I got my start a little over twenty years ago. I used to set up shop on the sidewalk in Downtown Tempe. I’d just roll my canvas out on the ground and paint on top of it until the cops would come along and tell me to get lost. I did that until I started getting my work into galleries.

3. What inspires you?

Found objects and mystery sounds. Every Sunday night, I head out to my favorite field with two shortwave radios, my laptop, and my portable antenna. I listen for and record radio oddities. Numbers stations, plasma ejections in Jupiter’s magnetosphere, mystery tones, distress signals. The ionosphere is as intense and frightening to me as the ocean is. There’s so much out there, and so much of it is a total mystery.

4. What do you like about AZ?

Arizona is a geological miracle. I’m a rock collector. There’s no place I’d rather be. Anybody who tells you they hate this place has never spent ten hours digging holes and hammering away at rock walls in Burro Creek. Or maybe they have, and they just hate rocks.

5. Where can we see your work?

I’ve got a show coming up that I’m pretty excited about. I’m working with my buddy Lawrence Hearn (Spirit Cave, Army of Robots) on his new project, Strange Conversation. We’re gonna hide ten copies of the forthcoming EP ‘Dark Star’ somewhere in the Greater Phoenix Area. These are limited edition copies, and they are accompanied by original art made by me. We’re gonna transform some sad, desolate little alleyway into a gallery, and anybody who happens to find it will get to keep everything they see. Afterwards, the entire record will be given away for free as a digital download. Visit strangeconversation.net for details as they unfold.

6. What would you like accomplish before you die?

I’ve got a giant, blank book, about the size of a small table. It contains hundreds of pages. I found it at a yard sale several years back and had to have it. I try to work in it a little bit every day. It’s kind of like my journal. Words accompany pictures. It reads a little like a graphic novel. I’d love to be able to finish it some day, but there never seems to be enough time.

7. What is your mantra?

I don’t know that I have a literal “mantra”. I will say this: it really bothers me when artists are too discouraged to even bother trying to do the thing they love, out of fear that they’ll fail. Fear of failure really pisses me off. I don’t believe in protocol. There is no right or wrong way of getting your work out there. Just make it and put it where people can see it. The more unorthodox your method of distribution is, the more interesting it is to me. If I had to condense that into a few words, it’d probably be something boring and cliché, like, “Don’t worry about what the other guy’s doing.”….