We had the good fortune of connecting with Hunter Wells and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Hunter, how do you think about risk?
Risk has actually played a huge role in my life and career! I was a high school senior in 2012, trying to decide what I wanted to do next. I knew college was the next step, but I had no idea what I wanted to study. The one thing I did know was that I was obsessed with Hawaii, and it was my dream to live there. I began to research college options in Hawaii, and I was actually invited to participate in an early application program for Hawaii Pacific University. I jumped on that opportunity! Luckily, it paid off because that was the only college I applied for! For a lot of people, that was a huge risk. Most of my peers toured and applied to multiple schools, but I put it all on the line for one university. I was accepted to Hawaii Pacific University, and was even accepted into the marine biology program. I have always loved art but didn’t think it was a path that I could follow. Unfortunately, I allowed the thoughts and opinions of others deter me from pursuing my passion at that time, and thought the sciences would be a safer option. During that time, I fell in love with Hawaii’s amazing art community and started to create more and more. About half-way through my sophomore year of college, I decided to take yet another risk and switch my major from marine biology to the humanities, focusing on art history. While college became more fascinating and rewarding for me, the real surprise came outside of school. I swear it seemed like the moment I began to pursue what I love (art) incredible things started to happen! I continued creating and sharing, and caught the eye of local artists. I was able to get involved in the local art community on Oahu. I did live painting at a gallery on the North Shore, participated in events, and even collaborated with fellow artists on a mural for an elementary school in Honolulu! That is where my artistic career began and, although I am not full-time (yet), I constantly look back on these experiences to remind myself of where I’ve been, what I’ve done, and to remind myself that the possibilities are endless. I never imagined I’d be able to do such things when I applied to HPU, and I’ve done things I thought I’d only ever dream of! If I had never taken those risks, none of it would have come to pass, so I thank God every day that I just jumped in.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I discovered my passion for art and painting while attending college in Hawaii, so most of my work reflects a love of nature-specifically Hawaii. It is a beautiful, magical place. It is difficult to verbalize, so painting has always been the best way for me to express my love for the Hawaiian Islands. I am currently based in North Carolina, so my art has shifted a bit as I have moved and evolved. My art tends to reflect my current mood and/or environment. I am most excited about continuing to challenge myself and see what comes next. My path has not been easy by any means, and I push myself every day. My love for what I do has been the most important aspect of pushing through the challenges of being an independent creative. I am truly passionate about making art, and I will continue to paint even if all my paintings sit in my studio for the rest of my life. I just LOVE to do it. The most important thing I’ve learned would be to not worry so much about how you are perceived. If you’re doing something because you love to do it, then the outside world shouldn’t matter. Those that honestly love you, your work, and are connected to your work will find their way to you.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Kernersville is quaint, but growing! I LOVE coffee, so I’d have to take my friends to my favorite coffee shop- Local Roots. Their coffee menu is amazing, and the atmosphere is cute, cozy and inspiring! It’s a little bit of a drive, but Boone, NC is such an awesome little area nearby. There are plenty of good food spots, shopping, and fun activities like horseback riding! Asheville would be another good spot. Again, a bit of a drive, but worth it. Asheville has a rich art community, and some great sights!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
While my entire family has been incredibly supportive, I’d love to give a special thanks to my mom. Being very creative herself, she introduced me to art and has encouraged my creativity my whole life. She was the first to cheer me on when I decided to take those big risks in life, and she is still the most loving and supportive mother anyone could ask for.