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Evoking EmotionsElliott Hundley

June 5, 2015

From his Los Angeles studio, artist Elliott Hundley describes an interest in evoking intense emotions through collage and photography. Inspired by opera’s use of highly artificial conventions to elicit an emotional response, Hundley describes his own work as being “imaginary operas.” In contrast to this goal, the artist uses collage as a foil because of its straightforward and recognizable qualities.

“[Collage] is resonant because it is made of the stuff that we see everyday, so it’s familiar,” says Hundley. “It reflects our reality.” Hundley is shown at work in his Los Angeles studio, taking staged photographs of a close friend. The resulting images from this and other photo shoots are then incorporated into Hundley’s collages. “What’s important to me about including my friends and family is that it raises the stakes, that they’re not just images.”

More information and credits


Producer: Ian Forster. Consulting Producer: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Interviewer: Wesley Miller & Susan Sollins. Camera: Marc Levy, Miguel Drake-McLaughlin & Justin Thomas Ostensen. Sound: Michael Carmona & Neal Doxsee. Editor: Morgan Riles. Artwork Courtesy: Elliott Hundley, Andrea Rosen Gallery & Regen Projects. Theme Music: Peter Foley.

Art21 Exclusive is supported, in part, by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; 21c Museum Hotel, and by individual contributors.

Closed captionsAvailable in English, German, Romanian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Italian

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Elliott Hundley

Elliott Hundley draws inspiration for his paintings from diverse sources, but especially from his Southern heritage, steeped in family history. Many of his works also contain references to Greek tragedy and classical mythology, and to Japanese woodblock prints. He also stages improvisational photo shoots to generate imagery for his multi-panel tableaus, casting friends and family in roles from antiquity and various other sources. With these and other images anchored by thousands of pins to bulletin-board-like surfaces, his shallow reliefs form a palimpsest that teems with humble materials such as cut-up magazines, string, plastic, gold leaf, and other ephemera.

“Collage is resonant because it is made of the stuff that we see everyday, so it’s familiar. It reflects our reality.”

Elliott Hundley

Art & Emotion

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