By Darla Harmon, Center for Contemporary Arts executive director
Thirty years later, Huff is a working artist talented in several areas, including painting, collage and mixed media. His work will be on display in the Jane Breed Gallery at The Center for Contemporary Arts in an exhibit titled “A Leo H, The Art of Anthony Huff,” from March 4 to April 26.
Huff could always draw. He was the go-to guy in school whenever anyone needed an art project completed.
To further this innate talent, Huff completed a bachelor of fine arts degree at Midwestern State University. With the sheep-skin in his hand and the love of his life, Mary, on his arm, he escaped to New York because he felt in his heart that “New York couldn’t wait to see me!”
The couple settled in a Williamsburg warehouse apartment. This unpretentious space gave this creative duo the impetus to explore their art. The need for a sustainable income led Huff to a job that would define his career as an art handler and allow him the freedom to paint and sculpt.
Huff‘s work has evolved through the years to include painting, collage and mixed media works. Nothing is sacrosanct when his creative juices start to flow. Huff develops the surface of his pieces through the use of magazines, books, text, joss paper, oil bars and found objects. His technique of layering paper, paint and objects achieves a surface that is luscious and intellectually interesting.
“I’ve always been drawn to this: noticing years of layered paint on old hand rails on subway platforms, layered paint on doors, and windows of older homes – love that kind of surface,” he said. “There will be a chipped piece and you can see little lines of color from each succeeding layer of paint that’s been applied over the years. I just like things that have lived a little and have the scars to show for it. My work is rough, crude, sometimes offensive and very outside the mainstream. My work will never be seen in a Holiday Inn lobby.”
In the development of a new piece of art, Huff will allow the content of the piece to dictate the direction he takes it, while sharpening the focus with photos, words and color. There are instances where an idea will take precedence over evolution, but usually the piece itself will dictate where he goes, and he will never make it easy for the viewer. What may be obvious in content may not be entertaining or the vehicle of his message.
“I’ll comment on my life, politics, religion or current affairs – really anything that is going on in the world that I need to work out,” he said. “Making art is my therapy. I hope to be doing it till the day I drop dead.”