Business of Illustration MFA Faculty Member and Presentor, Robert Hunt, has just won the coveted Hamilton King Award from the Society of Illustrators for "The best work by a Society member in the Annual Exhibition." Society post here.
Hunt gave this speech on February 6, 2015 at the Society of Illustrators show in New York while receiving his award:
This is a completely unanticipated and inconceivable moment for me. The real award, I believe, is the privilege of addressing all of you tonight. I want to take just a few minutes of your time to thank a few people and also tell you a short story.I wish to thank the previous recipients of this award, Society of Illustrators, the Board, Tim, Chris, Alessandro, and Anelle, not only for this great honor but for their efforts to make the Society a more inclusive and diverse place, welcome to all illustrators young and old, at every stage of our careers. It is a great accomplishment and I would like to take this opportunity- we should all take a moment -to thank them for that.Thanks to Eric Skillman, the great art Director at Criterion, for the opportunity, and to Peter Wier and cinematographer Russell Boyd for making the beautiful film Picnic at Hanging Rock, upon which my illustration is based.As this is a career award as well, I need to acknowledge many people, so many that I would be here all night and still leave people out. So, to my friends, fellow illustrators, colleagues at CCA, all the art directors I have worked with- Many of them are here tonight... I should point out that Gerry Counihan, who gave me my first job in NY is here tonight. Many many art directors and illustrators can trace their careers back to Gerry. Thanks to my students past and present-and my own teachers and mentors. You all have a large part in my presence here tonight and I sincerely thank all of you.I wish to dedicate this award to four people without any one of whom I would not be here: My beautiful wife Lynn- and I wish for all of you to have someone in your life providing the kind of unconditional and unwavering, positive support I have. Not just logistical support but encouragement to pursue creative freedom over immediate financial gain. And to my friends David Grove and Dugald Stermer, and Kazu Sano,----Some of you know that I was (inexplicably) a math teacher before I was an illustrator, so there may be a few numbers in this story:This is the 50th anniversary of the Hamilton King Award.A little over 35 years I met a woman named Barbara Bradley. She had come to New York in 1950 and became one of the only women in the Charles Cooper studios for 10 years before moving back to California and becoming a drawing teacher. She struck me as a little old lady, but I now realize she was in her early fifties when I met her. She told me illustration was a beautiful profession, and she thought, with some work, I could find a career in the business. I still hear her voice every day, every time I pick up a pencil. I followed her advice and In 1980, 35 years ago, I started doing work as an illustrator, and not long after, I had my first piece accepted into this show. I scraped up the money to come here to the opening.I remember stepping off the curb and having the special New York experience of feeling my shoe fill with ice water.I walked into this same event over 30 years ago, through the red door, leaving a trail or wet footprints through the crowd, and I immediately sought my own work out- we all do it. I remember exactly where my piece was, on the back of a crossbar, right over there. I remember everything about it- what was next to it, what was on the wall across from it... And I realized, as I looked at it, I was standing in front of the worst piece in the show. By far. I wanted to go home, I wanted to take it down.I went home and I tried to do better. As time went by I started to gain a little more understanding of what Illustration is really about. It’s about work, success, failure, stress, joy, and Love.Teaching started to become more and more important to me...and as it did, I started to listen to my own advice.So now here we are, over 30 years later. I’ve had a few pieces in the show since then, and I always try come to the opening if I am in or not- and eventually my pieces looked a little better and eventually I felt like I got to a place where I was able to hold my own. But ...I never saw this, tonight, coming in a million years.But what I will tell you- out there in this crowd tonight, perhaps there’s a young man or young woman... who perhaps has their first piece in this show, and maybe you feel like I did 35 years ago. But now... Lets Imagine now that it’s thirty-five years in the future, that its the year 2050. It seems like a long way off- but on that night you may be here again. Your hovercraft may be right outside...and you may be standing right here, on this very stage, getting this very award. I hope I can be there to congratulate you. On that night, 35 years from now, 100 years from when Barbara Bradley came to New York, we- all of us here- will be connected by what we have in common, what we have in common going back even farther, the opportunity to participate in the making of things that might inspire emotion, influence opinion, and motivate behavior.My advice to you is : Enjoy the time between now and then, take a moment occasionally to look up and look around at the beautiful world that we have a special part in. Because on that night, in 35 years, when you are standing here, you will realize: - it will all have happened in the blink of an eye.Thank You
For more on Robert Hunt, please visit his website: http://roberthuntstudio.com/