Seldon Hunt Interview

I believe I discovered the art of Seldon Hunt via Stephen O'Malley's website back in late 2002, maybe 2003. At that point, the artists were engaged in what they called the "Vector Wars", egging each other on with increasingly chaotic digital life forms and structures. From then on, Seldon used these amazing skills to become one of the most well-known artists in the underground. But never one to stay static, the artist began to expand his interest to drawing and photography, with equally impressive results. He also took up film-making, and moved his ass from Australia to New York. I had a little chat with Seldon about his artistic career so far, and who actually won the Vector Wars.

HAMMER SMASHED JAZZ: Ok, I love asking artists this question. Your earliest memories of your own art. What were you drawing/emulating? Did you start very early as a kid?

SELDON HUNT: I started drawing pretty late in life, perhaps in comparison to most artists. I drew some ducks on a lake for a girl who i thought my impressed by such things, at about 18... They looked ok. Didnt work out with the girl. Just in case anyone was wondering...

HSJ: So moving forward, what was your first job or album cover that you did?

SH: The first album cover that i did was for KK Null, on Manifold Records.

HSJ: I first heard of your work through the old "vector wars" between you and O'Malley on his website. How did you guys first hook up?

SH: He asked me to design a Lotus Eaters EP cover in about 2002. From there i guess we developed a rapport in regards to many things, especially design. I always won the vector wars. Just want to make that clear.

HSJ: I have so many friends here in America who say they'd love to live in Australia...but you did the opposite. Why the move to New York, and are you glad you made it? Also, is Australia really that wild, or is that more a western myth?

SH: Ah its a western myth the wildness of Australia. Most people never leave the cities so what would they know. The outback can be pretty rough and ready and there is seriously isolated parts of Australia that I think are more and more unique in modern civilization, especially in regards to a developed first world country. I moved to NY for many reasons, but in Australia, you are terribly isolated from what is happening in the cultural arena. This is not to say that it lacks culture, rather it is becomes repetitive and the opportunities for expansion of your world seem limited after a period of time. New York is New York! Why not?

HSJ: So back to the vector became known for that style, yet you started moving into new directions with hand-drawn stuff and photography. Were you ever worried about changing it up? Did the style you worked in become boring to you?

SH: Yeah, pretty much. I like doing it, but its a tough call having to do that over and over again. I like to play around. That is how the vector work eventuated, from just fooling around on the computer, as much as anything, you just keep trying new mediums and find some way that becomes your own language if you like. I was never really worried about changing it up, I always have confidence in my own abilities, plus the Ferrari and the house in the Carribean still seemed and still is a long way off from becoming a reality with the fees in independent music!

HSJ:I absolutely love the texts that you've written for Sunn O))). Truly bewildering stuff. Where does the inspiration for your writing style come from,and have you written anything besides the ones you did for Sunn O)))?

SH: Thanks, its funny Im really proud of that work and yet it is not mentioned often in regards to my body of work. Yeah, i love writing, I do less and less the busier I get really, but i am hoping to work on something more substantial that is hopefully to be published in book format.

I think the inspiration comes from a connection between language and dreams, or the sens e of unexpressable ideas, that I can only visualize in prose form. I guess that is why they seem so appropriate to sunno))) as the music is void of 'content' and rather creates an uneasy sense of inexplicable despair. The texts are a connection to that. I have always had a kinship with langauge and word play, literature is my major source of interest out of all the arts actually.

HSJ: You filmed a documentary for Earth, and didn't you do one for Isis as well? Are you working on any film stuff now?

SH: I started working on a film about Justin Broadrick, but that is in hiatus, as he has been rather difficult to pin down lately. I would love to work on a new film, but I am not sure what at this stage. Right now I am just getting through the year and hoping to see what arises at the beginning of next year. There are a few ideas in mind...

HSJ: I've noticed that heavy metal imagery has been appearing in art galleries, and being used by more mainstream designers in the past few years. To me it's not surprising, because so much of the images used in metal are classic, but how do you feel about the integration of such artwork into different places?

SH: Most of graphic design is approproprated really. It was only matter of time before people like myself and Stephen O'Malley and Aaron Turner brought a what-would-be considered more 'sophisticated' style to use an ugly word, to the metal genre. I do notice this appropriation, and also the use of irony as if metal is funny. The modern young graphic designer these days tends to be a gormless weakling, appropriating whatever is the latest cool. It all began in the late 90's when every 20 something grad designed everything to look like a hip hop flyer, then after that it was cool 'graf stylz', so quite frankly its no big surprise that these unimaginative people sit there with Vice magazine on the toilet and a highlighter looking for the latest cool. Morons.

HSJ: Your artistic it a complicated one...or do you just sit down and go for it?

SH: I tend to just sit down and go for it really.

HSJ: Bands you wish you could do work for?

SH: I work for them.

HSJ: Future plans, projects?

SH: More shirts and prints on Shirts and Destroy. An exhibition in LA later in the year, a show in Paris of my photography. Working on a Seldon Hunt book project that will hopefully see the light of day in about 2 years.

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