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Meet Sean Hunter

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sean Hunter.

Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
As far back as I can remember, I’ve had a disposition for the creative and unconventional. I had a very handy father who always demonstrated diligence and problem-solving skills. Over the last 15 years or so, I’ve channeled my creative inclinations and my love for working with my hands into building things. In 2008, I met Brandon Gore and started working at Gore Design Co / Hard Goods. My understanding and knowledge of the design/fabrication world grew exponentially working under his professional expertise. His mentorship always inspired a propensity for working at the cutting edge of one’s craft or trade. Since then, I’ve had the pleasure of working with other craftsmen from all over who have challenged and encouraged my desire to grow further in my craft. In 2014, myself and good friend Andy Littleton built a pergola at a midtown residence. It was a humble beginning but the first of many side projects that would snowball into what became Midtown Artisans, which Andy started the following year. Since its inception, we’ve taken on a ton of really unique commercial and residential custom projects. Whether we’re working with and alongside business owners, homeowners, designers, architects or other craftsmen, we’re continually humbled in our approach to our industry. We didn’t go to business school, but we’ve grown organically and learned from the highs and lows along the way. With a steady momentum, we’ve been incredibly fortunate to be able to improve, expand and achieve greater quality and integrity in our work. I am always learning and developing my craft and find that the process is just as rewarding as the end result.

Please tell us about your art.
Personally, I enjoy making things that are functional, beautiful, and well built. That requires extensive effort from beginning to end; from the idea to the plan to the execution. That process to the craftsman/maker is profound. It holds within it, a deep sense of value in it of itself. I’m very nostalgic and have held on to pieces I made when I was younger not because they’re made particularly well, but because they contain a story that is a snapshot of my journey. In regards to materials, my desire is to honor the medium in it’s most natural form embracing its unique characteristics. I tend to work mostly with wood, concrete, and steel, while occasionally branching out to plastics, composites, leather, and other fabrics. I view my work and reputation as having a profound consequence beyond just the here and now. My desire is that is evident in my work. The biggest joy is to bring happiness and appreciation to anyone that comes in contact with something I’ve made. At Midtown Artisans, we’ve built a reputation of doing a broad range of custom projects for our clients. We design and custom build a wide variety of residential and commercial furniture, fixtures, various home goods, and decor. We love the challenge of unique projects; probably our most ambitious to date: converting a Fed-Ex truck into a food truck. Of course, there is the business element to our company, but we also desire to uphold and give back to our community in the ways we are most capable of. Lately, we’ve narrowed in on a value that we’d love to perpetuate: a mindset of upholding things that last. Doing so requires resisting sheer materialism and the urge to simply chase trends and potentially forfeit quality and integrity in the items we possess. Ultimately we hope the pieces we make last generations, age gracefully, and develop their own story. If most things we purchased and valued had those same qualities, it might mean less in the landfills and an increase in timeless, high-quality production.

As an artist, how do you define success and what quality or characteristic do you feel is essential to success as an artist?
I think success can mean different things depending on the context of the situation. I find success in seeing a project through to its completion and having the gratification of enjoying the fruits of my labor. A final product: something that didn’t exist before and now does is a “success” in its own right. Aside from that, I’ve learned over the years how important it is to always work hard and give your best. Don’t take things for granted and go the extra mile. That will pay off. Don’t second guess yourself and don’t be defeated when you fail. Change course if needed, learn from the experience, and move forward. I believe that is what the road to success looks like. I always remember a Mark Twain quote I heard, “to succeed in life you need two things: ignorance and confidence.” It’s clever. I’ve always found a truth to it especially in regards to being an “artist” or creative person and being confident in what you do. I’m constantly battling being overly self-aware, and so nothing I do is ever good enough or worthy of much. When I achieve a level of ignorance and avoid getting overly caught up in comparing myself to others or feeling silly for taking myself too seriously, I find my confidence in my work can actually stick, at least for a moment. There is something refreshing in being genuinely and unapologetically pleased with something you’ve created. It can certainly rub off on others and help in achieving success. It’s food for thought.

How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
Our website (midtownartisans.com) and our Instagram (@midtownartisans) feature most of our portfolio of projects over the last three years. We’ve also had the opportunity to work for and with several local Arizona establishments that you can visit: Presta Coffee Roasters (Tucson, Az), Anello Pizzeria (Tucson, Az), Beaut Burger (Tucson, Az), Iron John’s Downtown (Tucson, Az), Exo Coffee (Tucson, Az), and The Shop Brewery (Tempe, Az). We’re very excited to announce that we’re opening up a small retail shop called MESA in the Mercado San Agustin Annex near downtown Tucson this October. It will feature smaller furniture and housewares by Midtown Artisans, limited run collaborations, as well as exhibit, works from other local artists/creatives. Come stop by and say hello!

Contact Info:

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Image Credit:
Peter Lopez, Ellie Arciaga Lillstrom

Getting in touch: VoyagePhoenix is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

1 Comment

  1. Brandon Gore

    November 4, 2018 at 4:14 am

    Sean is great – if you are in Arizona and need anything made of concrete, wood, and/or steel, he’s the only person I’d recommend.

    -BG

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