Thursday, December 22, 2022

Dawn Hunter | portrait of the visual artist in her fifties

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is a novel by Irish writer James Joyce that tells the story of Stephen Dedalus, a young artist struggling to find his place in the world and to develop his artistic identity. The novel is considered a modernist classic and is known for its innovative use of language and its portrayal of its protagonist's psychological and moral development.

One insight that aging artists may take from A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is the idea that the process of becoming an artist is a journey of self-discovery and self-creation.

Being happy and comfortable in your skin at any age is essential to overall well-being and can lead to a more fulfilling and meaningful life.

It's natural to have ups and downs and to go through different phases in life, but it's important to remember that age is just a number and that it's never too late to pursue your passions and goals. Many people find that they have a renewed sense of purpose and focus in their fifties and beyond, and this can be an excellent time to make positive changes in your life and focus on your prosperity and happiness.

Paramount to remember is that there is no one way to "be" a woman in your fifties or at any other age. Every woman has unique strengths, interests, and goals; celebrating and embracing those differences is essential. So if you're feeling optimistic about being a woman in your fifties, that's great! Keep embracing your uniqueness and living your life to the fullest.

This is a close-up portrait of visual artist Dawn Hunter.

My Story

Age has never been a defining factor in my life. I have always lived a creative life, and each day I am in my studio feels timeless. The creative time has a synergy that connects my life's times and places within the creative process. I also teach first-year college students. They are young, energetic, and innovative individuals who inspire and welcome me into their lives through creative connections.

One challenge that older female artists may face is ageism, which refers to discrimination based on age. This can occur in a number of different ways, including being passed over for opportunities or being treated differently because of one's age.

Another challenge that older female artists may face is the lack of representation and support for their work. It is not uncommon for older female artists to feel like their work is not given the same attention or recognition as that of their younger counterparts.

Despite these challenges, many older female artists continue to create and share their work with the world. They may find support and camaraderie in artistic communities and may even find that their age and life experiences give them a unique perspective and voice in their art. (Above, portrait of Dawn Hunter. Photo by Darcy Phelps.)

This is a photo of visual artist Dawn Hunter at the Yayoi Kusama exhibition at the High Museum in Atlanta, GA. Dawn is standing in a hot pink room with big black polka dots created by Kusama.

My Inspiration

Yayoi Kusama is a Japanese artist who has found great success and recognition as an older female artist. Born in 1929, Kusama has been creating art for over 70 years and has gained a reputation as one of the most important and influential contemporary artists in the world.

Kusama's art is known for its vibrant colors, repetitive patterns, and immersive installations, which often incorporate performance and interactive elements. She has worked in a variety of media, including painting, sculpture, installation art, and literature. 

This is a photo of a Yayoi Kusama light installation. There are portals that viewers can look in through. There are mirrors that reflect the lights creating a sense of dimension and infinity.

Above, self-portrait of Dawn Hunter at the Yayoi Kusama exhibition in Atlanta, Georgia. Left, the Peep Show light installation by Yayoi Kusama, photo by Dawn Hunter.

Throughout her career, Kusama has exhibited her work in galleries and museums around the world and has garnered a large and devoted following. In recent years, she has gained even more recognition and success, with her work being featured in major exhibitions and sold for record-breaking prices at auction. Despite being in her 90s, Kusama continues to create and exhibit her art, inspiring and delighting audiences globally.

My favorite living artist is Kusama, and I make it a point to travel and attend her shows whenever I can, like to the Bronx Botanical Gardens or High Museum of Art. When her exhibition was on view at the High Museum in Atlanta, GA, I actually bought a scalped ticket to attend. The show had sold out, and people were wrapped around the block in tents in hopes of receiving one of the daily tickets held. 

*Ticket scalping has become a more common practice during the past twenty years because of the internet. Most scalping incidents now take place through online sales transactions. Currently, there are no federal laws that prohibit the scalping or resale of tickets.

Photo of Yayoi Kusama's obliteration room. A room comprised entirely of white walls, white furniture and white objects. Guests to the show cover the objects with polka dot stickers on the was out. This flattens the space and create an illusion of disappearing objects.

Above, the obliteration room at the Yayoi Kusama Exhibition at the High Museum, photo by Dawn Hunter.


2022 has been an excellent year for me creatively, and I was productive - generating many new works of art throughout the year. I have been honored by the recognition and success of my illustrations, drawings, and paintings about the esteemed neuroscientist Santiago Ramón y Cajal and my daughter, Darcy. I have exhibited throughout the US this year, from Art Fields in Lake City, SC, Verum Ultimum, Portland, OR, and the Cabrillo Gallery, Los Angeles - to name a few 2022 exhibition highlights. 

I feel sincere gratitude for being the first artist to be elected to the Board of Directors of the prestigious Cajal Club and for the distinctions of having my artwork reproduced and written about in Scientific American® and the Consilience Journal.

I look forward to opportunities and the creative journey ahead of me in 2023, and as the sayings go, "age is just a number," and "being fifty is nifty."

Portrait of Dawn Hunter taken by her daughter Darcy. Dawn has long brown hair, is wearing a burgundy dress and is sitting at a table with many drawings she created of her daughter.

Portrait of Dawn Hunter taken by her daughter Darcy as they prepared the Darcy Inventory for the 2022, 10th Anniversary Artfields exhibition, Lake City, SC.