‘I’m simply trying to show the magic I see everywhere in the natural world. Every place has a mood and a story to tell. Every creature has a distinct personality. When I see an animal, I see a little soul; I try to capture that and evoke a sense of story around them. Stories and make-believe open up an entire new universe that helps us understand our own reality (and escape it sometimes!) ‘
Cheri Hunston is a truly original artist and illustrator. Using the most challenging traditional materials, Cheri puts a unique fantastical and modern twist into all her creations. She was recently a finalist for 'Up and Coming Artist of the year 2014' by the Fine Art Trade Guild, additionally she was also a finalist in the Pollyanna Pickering award for 'Depiction of Wildlife'.
She has a attracted a number of collectors in the Southwest of England and Australia. She sells nationally and internationally.
Originally from Bolton in Lancashire and growing up on the Pennines near Macclesfield Cheshire, she now lives on the wild but beautiful Dartmoor.
Her inspiration comes from the wildlife, seasons, natural beauty, myth and legends of Dartmoor.
Cheri bases her work on real wildlife and places, she creates thought provoking characters, captures a moment that may suggest a story and gives them all an original fantastical twist.
Cheri says, 'Nature is magic to me. Every animal has it's own character and story. Every place has a history and a mood. I'm not aiming to give a photographical representation- photographs do that, I'm showing how I see things as an artist. The textures and realism remain but the characters or moods are emphasised with the glint in the eye, a turn of the ear or an unruly feather or piece of fur. I want my fantastical pictures to seem as though the creatures could come alive at any minute. I guess it's about stimulating the imagination of others and sharing how I experience the natural world.'
Work usually begins with a walk on Dartmoor for inspiration, photographs and detailed sketches.
Cheri is a perfectionist and uses only the finest quality, Italian, hot pressed paper. She is obsessional about paper and their different textures; even the paper for her prints is carefully selected to complement the work and match the original as closely as possible. She can be exacting when matching the colour of the giclée print (see below for explaination of this processs) to her original work too, right down to the hues of the black and white ink work. Her prints are giclée and she uses a printing company that is a member of the Fine Art Trade Guild. Her preferred medium is ink or watercolour; the tonal quality of the pigmentation is important.
Mostly working in ink, which is possibly the most unforgiving medium, as one mistake can ruin an entire picture, plus due to the amount of time each work takes coupled with the intricacy of her work, her pieces really are a labour of love, a piece can take me between 42-350 hours to complete and that’s not including the research, planning and preparatory sketches. In fact, because her work really is 'art from the heart', in the majority of her work you will find a hidden love heart!
'My biggest influence was my parents. I grew up in an artistic home. My mother was an oil painter her subjects were people, flowers and landscapes. My father was a calligrapher, designer and bookbinder and worked with an array of materials from inks to gold leaf and leather. They were my constant art teachers throughout my life and I was inquisitive enough to try different paints and methods. The house often smelt of linseed and the dinning room table was replaced by easles. Although I initially lived in an urban area, my parents often took me on long walks into the nearby countryside and I learnt about different species of trees and plants and breeds of birds. I loved it. My mother had a wonderful sense of humour and a wild imagination. My father was a perfectionist, pragmatic and philosophical. I then moved to the Pennines and was able to wander off on my own long walks and make my own discoveries, which I did regularly. '
Cheri's artistic influences have also evolved from Celtic and Gothic art; Pre-Raphelites, the Arts and crafts Movement , Art Nouveau and Victorian children’s book illustration, in particular Arthur Rackham.
NB: The term giclée (pronounced Zhee-klay) comes from the French verb gicleur which means to squirt or spray.
This means that the original artwork is copied digitally. Using the original as a guide, I then make sure that the colours stay as faithful as possible to the original, sometimes this means printing several test sheets to be as true as possible. During printing, pigment based inks are squirted or sprayed onto high quality archival paper to produce superior prints with light-fastness and stability. The paper used is heavyweight and I try to match up the texture, weight and colour of the paper that I used for the original. quality of giclée prints rivals traditional printing processes used by museums and art galleries. Being light -fast and using acid free, archival paper means that a giclée print is not just the best quality, but it has a much longer life span than most other printing methods. Nevertheless it is always advisable not to hang any art work in direct sunlight as this will cause fading unless you protect it with UV glass.
National Educational game of the Year; Real Ideas Organisation: Best Educational Game.
Up and Coming Published Artist 2014. Fine Art Trade guild.National Educational game of the Year; Real Ideas Organisation: Best Educational Game.