This article first appeared in print in the January 2019 issue of Revelstoke Mountaineer Magazine.
“We started in Spandex — no pads, no full-face helmets, two-inch travel on the front and back,” says Pauline Hunt, the cover artist for the January issue of Revelstoke Mountaineer Magazine, as she recalls her downhill mountain bike racing career in the 1990s. Hunt travelled the world to race, and was crowned the provincial downhill champ in 1996, when she won the B.C. Cup. The call of the mountains, specifically mountain biking and backcountry skiing, drew Hunt to B.C. from Ontario in the 1990s, after she completed a graphic design degree at college.
Since then, she’s balanced a career as a graphic and web designer with artistic and mountain pursuits, often blending the two. She was the art director at Ski Freak Radical, a short-lived magazine that was (arguably) the precursor to Kootenay Mountain Culture Magazine, where she worked under the nom de plume Design Queen Spleen. In print, she went on to help with early iterations of Reved Quarterly and was the editor of the Forest Workers’ Voice, a newsletter focusing on Revelstoke’s forestry workers. Through it all, she’s maintained a career as a web designer and graphic artist; she currently manages numerous local websites for clients, for whom she does both graphic design and web work.
Hunt’s artistic output has included many formats, such as acrylic paintings, watercolours, and a wide variety of digital creations. Hunt was diagnosed with ALS about a decade ago; the loss of fine motor skills has led her to focus on digital creations. Or as she puts it, “I can still run a mouse fine.”
Of late, her creations often remix photography and graphic elements into a collage composite. “It’s like digital pop art meets painting. There’s a hand-drawn element – curves and free-flowing lines meeting with the bold colours and vibrant backgrounds,” Hunt said.
A trip to Tibet in 2010 exposed her firsthand to the ancient yet living practice of mandala creation, and many of her recent works have been a meditation on the mandala theme. “What I like about creating them is there is a bit of mathematics involved,” she said. Variations in the viewers’ distance and perspective change their experience with the creation, evoking multiple experiences from the same work. “When you get close, you see so many things – you’re hiding things for people to explore.”
Her recent collage works have explored environmental themes, particularly the planet’s looming climate change disaster. While reading a story about projected sea level rise, she was struck by how much will be lost, including many major coastal cities. “When I saw that, I was taken aback by the amount of the earth we’ll lose and how catastrophic it will be.” In response, she created a collage Troubled Waters, which juxtaposes the New York skyline with projected future water levels, and inserted visual editorial content on the real possibility of civilization collapse. Her work is a call to action. “I think people need to wake up, and we need some radical change.”
Pauline Hunt often displays her work at Revelstoke Visual Arts Centre exhibits, and was a featured artist at the 2018 Shambhala festival. You can see her latest creations online at www.huntadventures.ca, and access her web and design services through her company Spark Solutions Ltd. Find her on Instagram at: @artistpaulinehunt.