ode boutique

Artist Interview

Perry Baron Huntoon

July 2, 2013

Perry Huntoon definitely colored out of the lines in art class. And she clearly did not stand by and let skies be blue or grass green. She's a paint-by-number anarchist. Her art begins with the elements and takes them to new hues and heights. That's why we thought it would be a perfect collaboration: our window, her hubris. Is that a butterfly wing or a mountain range? I don't think Perry wants you to choose.

What do you love about making art?
In my landscapes, mountains can be neon pink and clouds are shaped like continents.  You can get lost in them like some kind of strange wonderland. I grew up with Candy Land, Willy Wonka and the Wizard of Oz and I still feel entranced by the concept of creating magical otherwordly spaces that exist outside the rules of nature.  My art allows me to bring the landscapes that exist within me into being while inviting others to get lost in them too.

Where do you find inspiration?
A clear mind
A clouded mind
Travel, or anything that jolts me out of my day-to-day life
"Letters to a Young Poet" by Rainer Maria Rilke
"The Creative Process: A Revealing Study of Genius at Work" (mind-blowing essays by influential artists, writers and scientists)
Mountains in any form
My many beautiful and talented friends
Art books
Walks down the bike path
Drives through the hills
Places I’ve never been
Anything out of the ordinary

What is your dream project?
Going on a cross-country landscape painting tour in a camper, or covering Mount Everest with neon paint.

What are your plans for the future?
1) Enjoy what’s left of summer in the Pioneer Valley
2) Spend the month of October in residency at the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, VT
3) Start a new chapter of my life

If I wasn’t doing this, I would be...
Painting, swimming, socializing, or watching Arrested Development.

What's your favorite line from a movie, song, or book?
"...She re-created the mountains not as she had originally seen them but as she eventually chose to see them, for a person has not only perceptions but a will to perceive, not only a capacity to observe the world but a capacity to alter his or her observation of it- which, in the end, is the capacity to alter the world, itself. Those people who recognize that imagination is reality's master, we call "sages", and those who act upon it, we call "artists". Tom Robbins - Skinny Legs and All

If you were a piece of clothing, what would be and what color/pattern?
Anything with a loud geometric or floral pattern.  My friends are always gifting me with their most psychedelic thrift finds.

What's the first line in a book about your life?
“She had lost her keys again.”

What's your go-to "happy" song?
"Fantasy" by Mariah Carey, featuring ODB.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten?
“Once the search has begun, something will be found.” -Oblique Strategies

When was the last time you laughed so hard you cried?
Legs Michelson.

Perry Baron Huntoon holds a BA in Studio Art from Smith College.  She lives in Northampton, where she has contributed to multiple public art projects including “24 Hours”, a mural underneath the bike bridge on North Street.  She currently works at UMass Amherst for the Arts Extension Service, a program that equips artists and arts managers for their work in the field.

Her window installation at Ode is entitled “Not Quite Here” and will be in the window starting July 7th.

This project was funded in part by a grant from the Northampton Arts Council