The LA Times article literally said “Oh, God, run, don’t walk to Regen Projects in Hollywood for Elliot Hundley’s latest exhibition,” and who were we to disagree? On Thursday, February 9, a group of Art Division students and staff members, led by Elsa Longbourne, carpooled to Regen Projects to take in Echo, a retrospective of the last 20 years of Hundley’s work. The show combines various media and materials in a group of large-scale collages, freestanding and hanging sculptures, assemblages, paintings, photographs, ceramics, and works on paper. Many of the pieces incorporate tiny photos of friends of family re-enacting classical works of literature as well as artifacts from Hundley’s own life
Students wandered through the rooms of the gallery, spending time with each piece. Art Division student Jenny Payan, who had been Hundley’s assistant in the past, had helped archive and cut out some of the photos for the enormous, wall-sized piece Balcony. “I was impressed by the way the paintings and the painted wall blended together–it was like a masterpiece,” Art Division student Eulogia Astrolunx Real-Luxe said of the piece. “I loved the color and expression and the way you could see the touch of the brush.”
Art Division Special Projects Coordinator Luis Motta was fascinated by Hundley’s use of materials. “I was really interested in his organic way of building structures from anything he connects with,” Luis said. “It’s inspiring to see that someone can make work of any kind of material and make it personal.”
Elsa Longhauser, who had known Hundley since he was a student in the UCLA MFA program, introduced the Art Division group to Regen Projects President Shaun Caley Regen, who spoke to us about Hundley’s process as we gathered around a piece co-created by Hundley and his parrot, Echo. She explained that the parrot had started pecking at materials while Hundley was sculpting, so Hundley decided that the bird should be encouraged to arrange the pieces as he pleased, with the artist shaping the final piece.
Afterwards, the group of students and staff, along with Elsa, enjoyed a delicious lunch at Tartine to discuss the show’s highlights.
The following week, on Tuesday, Feb. 14, the same group, joined by several others, had the privilege of meeting Hundley and getting a personal tour of his Chinatown warehouse studio. Once inside the cavernous space, we were greeted by Hundley, along with his two dogs, his cat and his parrot, who hooted periodically throughout the tour. Hundley graciously showed the group through his floor-to-ceiling storeroom of archived material, which includes photos, fabric, old furniture, and pretty much anything he finds interesting, which appears to be everything. Art Division Project Coordinator Nicole Berlanga was amazed by the space. “I knew I was gonna be blown away, but I didn’t know it was gonna be that massive,” Nicole said. “It was so interesting to see the way this artist coexists with his art.”
After showing the group around the first floor studios, Hundley brought the group to the second floor, which is his living space as well as a gallery where he showcases work by emerging artists. “I was inspired by the way he lives with his art, the way he archives his life and also lives in the moment,” Art Division student Blaine Wells-West said. “I loved how he lived with his pets and how open the space was.”
Luis agreed. “I loved seeing the way Elliot works with his studio, loved ones and family,” he said. “It’s not just a space for him but a place to offer opportunities for others in the community.”
At the end of the tour, the group gathered around Hundley’s kitchen table while he chatted with Elsa. The parrot attempted to balance himself on a lotion bottle while Hundley talked about his process. He prefers to set aside a little time each morning for thinking, makes some notes of ideas, then works all day. He carves out a little time at the end of each day for another round of thinking. In this way, he can devote the majority of his time to moving forward on his work without getting bogged down in overthinking. The group left with a warm goodbye and the hopes to see him again soon.”I’m so thankful for Elsa for having built a relationship like that where he trusted us to come into his workplace and his home,” Nicole said.