By Kristen Miller
COKATO, MN Larry Hunter says his art is “child-like in nature,” using mostly bright colors, farm animals, and square houses to tell a story.
In 2006, Hunter, who lives in Greenfield, purchased the building at 255 Millard Avenue SE, Cokato.
He renovated the building extensively, making a higher ceiling and taller windows giving it that “art studio” feel.
He calls himself the “Art Pig” because it fits his personality.
Hunter served in the Marines from 1989 to 1993, and still has a “militant” personality, which he admits most times can seem a bit vulgar.
“I just paint what I feel. I guess it’s therapy,” he said.
Last year, Hunter began partially moving his home studio to its new location, the black building with the red door along Millard Street.
Though the site will mostly be a working studio for Hunter, he does anticipate having occasional sales, such as a clearing sale set for Saturday, April 4 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
This is a great opportunity for people to purchase some inexpensive art, Hunter said.
All originals will be on sale at wholesale prices, he added.
Hunter began painting 11 years ago and is a self-taught artist.
He took three years off from painting fulltime to manage the Delano Area Sports Arena before realizing that it wasn’t what he wanted to do.
He then went back to painting, and directed his focus there.
Hunter is a little nervous about having a sale without people in the area having yet seen his work, though he is looking forward to finding out what people like so he can better direct his efforts.
There seems to be a common theme among his paintings, with farm animals, especially ducks and chickens being prevalent in many of his pieces.
Hunter remembers growing up as a kid and visiting his grandparents’ farm.
He has fond memories of chasing the chickens and geese around and watching them attempt to fly with their clipped wings.
For his paintings, Hunter uses recycled materials such as cardboard or wood instead of expensive canvas.
“I’d go broke real quick,” Hunter said if he used $200 canvases.
It also helps that Hunter has a lot of construction buddies who donate their scrap wood and cardboard.
Some of his smaller shadow box paintings were done on Lucky Charms cereal boxes and Pepsi cartons, which will also be on sale.
The art on display April 4 will show his brighter side, with what he calls “nice, contemporary folk art” and he promises nothing vulgar.
“Everything is in fun,” he said.
Hunter likes to paint folk art rather than modern art because he gets bored with modern art, he said.
“I like trying to tell a story of some sort,” he said.
What Hunter likes best about painting is being able to lose himself in the process while accomplishing something.
Hunter hopes the clearing sale will bring out some emerging artists who would like to display some of their work at his studio.
The next sale planned will be after Thanksgiving.
“I want people to come and look for a gift no one else has,” he said.
Hunter and his wife, Kristine, live in Greenfield with their two children, Drake, 15; and Haley, 13.
To see more of Hunter’s work, visit his web site at www.theartpig.com.