Stanly Clifford Hunt is a Kwaguilth artist from Fort Rupert, near Port Hardy on Vancouver Island. His Grandfather Mungo Martin, his father Henry Hunt and his brothers Richard and Tony Hunt Sr. are all artists of international stature. Mungo Martin adopted Stan's mother Helen Nelson who was later married by Stan's father Henry Hunt.
When Stan was ten he was initiated in the Hamatsa Society and danced in the cedar bark ceremony for the first time. In his early career as a carver, Stan worked with his father every day for 13 years. He heard all the old stories in the course of carving as many as 6 totem poles at the Royal Museum. He learned to carve as his father's apprentice. Stan signs his work Stanley Clifford Hunt to avoid confusion with other "Stan Hunts" also carvers who are distantly related, but carve in a different style.
He was born September 25th 1954 while his father was carving for the Royal Museum of British Columbia in Victoria. Stan was the first in the family to be born in Victoria (others were born at home, Port Hardy or at Alert Bay). The youngest of 6 boys, he has four older sisters, four younger sisters, a total of 14 siblings, twelve of whom are currently living. Stan attended Grade School and High School in Victoria. He played rugby, football, and track, and his 4 x 100 relay team held the Canadian Record. While in 10th grade he became the first Canadian boy to jump in excess of 40 feet. Stan shattered his left ankle playing baseball and had to stop sports activities.
Stan married in the 11th grade. His son Jason was born in the first year of marriage and his son Trevor arrived a year and a half later. During this marriage of 10 years, he held a variety of positions. Stan worked at the Empress Hotel, as a tool & dye apprentice, fork-lift operator in a pulp mill, in elevator maintenance, and had is own company, painting and hanging wall paper.
In 1976, four years before his father left the Provincial museum, Stan asked his father if he could be a carver. Henry replied, "The first thing you have to do is make your own tools." With his fathers approval, he made double-edged straight and curved knives, single-edged lightly curved, straight, and plain knives, including a lipped-adze for cross grain cutting straight heavy adze (made from ball bearing casing and leaf spring steel), and finishing knives. Elbow handles were hewn from the branch of a maple or yew tree. Each knife is made with a specific use in mind.
With proper tools, Stan spent the next three years learning knife, carving, and painting techniques working in his brother, Tony's Victoria Gallery, Arts of the Raven. He earned $125 a week for a minimum of one 9 -inch mask per week and extra spending money for bowls and other carvings which were sold to tourists in the museum shop.
It can be dangerous to cut and fell a tree. Accordingly, wood is sourced from the logging company. Trees can be requested from the timber company if submitted in writing and approved by the chief for delivery. Stan can request trees that are perfectly round, with tight grain, limited knots, length up to 40 feet, delivered to his yard. Chain saws are used for cutting mask size slices from the log. Adz cuts do all the shaping and smaller knives are for detail and finish. 600/1000 emery paper is used for edge sharpening. The last features added to any carving include the hands, feet, teeth, toes and claws. Better carvings require more time spent on detail and finish.
Iron oxide red, grey a mix of black and white, yellow always mixed with a hint of red, green Leprechaun Green, also hit with a hint of red, and brown made with red and green acrylic cream coat paints are the principal colors used in his shop. Poles and masks are finished with linseed oil that is brushed on and wiped immediately from the cedar after paint is dry.
The first pole commission came in 1986 for a twelve foot pole. It was comprised of a 9 to 10 foot raven with a bear holding an owl. It now stands in Arch Cape, Oregon. 15 feet is the tallest pole carved by Stan, and 44 inches is the largest one-piece moon mask. His smallest carving was of a 1 1/2" frog used as a base for a bumble bee rattle.
Stan is a committed artist. He has worked steadily on his art since 1988. He carves solely in the Kwaguilth style that he learned from his father and brothers. His masks, totem poles and graphic original paintings are collected for their craftsmanship and authenticity. Stan's work can be found in museums and private collections around the world. Tribal Expressions is proud to make available and to represent the inimitable carving of Stanley Clifford Hunt.