Arthur Hunter-Blair was born in Hartlepool, England, in 1943. He left school at fifteen and served an apprenticeship as a fitter at ICI before signing on for the merchant navy. Since the age of twenty-two however, he has dedicated himself to following his true vocation as an artist. For over twenty years he was an important catalyst of artistic activity in the North-East of England, inspiring, encouraging and helping many younger artists an writers, despite a continuing struggle for his own daily survival.
Although enjoying occasional national recognition, which has included solo exhibitions in London, his achievement has been consistently ignored by the official arts establishment-most conspicuously in the region that was his home.
In 1987, with his partner, now wife, Carla, he moved to Umbria in Italy. There, in a house which they have rebuilt themselves, is his studio and the new home of his "Presse de l'Exile", which he founded in Hartlepool in 1965.
Michael Thorp editor of Cloud Publications
(Excerpt from the artists book, "Threads of Sanity")
In defence of the man as artist and not artist as myth.
Man as artist is a living, breathing, sensual and creating being. Art as myth is a sterile, abstract, dead thing, removed from life. The artist cannot be separated from his creation, they are one and the same. The critic-surgeons attempt to separate man and his creation in the operating theatres of the art establishment; disecting the living art from the man and casting off the corpse. The posterity that is created by the poverty of one, is the prosperity of another; for one is a truth, the other a lie. The truth always lays concealed deep within the lie, for one mans truths are another mans lies.
If the values, truths and sufferings of one man are not acknowledged or accepted whilst that man is alive, they die with him and become the lies of another. Van Goghs paintings are our lies, for their truths died with the man and no matter what price we put on the art, we cannot change that, we cannot resurrect the man and say it is true, that we believe. It is too late, it will always be too late for Van Gogh the man, for the artist can never be separated from the man and the man from the artist, nor can the glory of the artist admonish the sins of the man.
We live in a time where the idea of art is controlled by a few self appointed false prophets who have thrown a straight-jacket around the shoulders of art, solely for selfish reasons; power, glory and above all, money. True art should be able to stand on its own two feet, have depth, mystery and a soul. Is a Van Gogh or a Munch valued for its own merit now, or just for its financial value? We must return to the truth and true values behind art or we will lose the only thing that has made man great, his creative ability. We must tear off that straight-jacket and depose those false prophets or we are lost, and there will be no future for true art. If you are still interested only in wallpaper, or financial and not spiritual investment, then this art is not for you.
Arthur Hunter-Blair 2002