Rebel with a cause
November 26, 2014

Hunter Lewis Lake repurposes old air conditioner coils to make his art.
By Ainslie Ross

A boundless amount of energy describes NSCAD student Hunter Lewis Lake and I’m not just taking about his personality. His work involves re-purposing material from one of the highest energy consuming appliances we use today: the air conditioner. Taking part in NSCAD’s upcoming Pop-up at the Christmas Shop, the final year BFA Interdisciplinary student sat down to talk about his work, community and making a difference.

Energy drink in hand, Hunter describes how he uses only discarded aluminum and copper air conditioning coil to create his artwork. He presses the surface of the coil creating an impression that then makes the area reflective because of the malleability of the air conditioning coil.

“It’s a really unique way of re-using this scrap item; I guess I’m pulling a Duchamp and bringing it into the art world,” he said.

Determined to make his time and artwork count, Hunter plans on contributing 30 per cent of his proceeds from the Pop-up at the Christmas Shop to employing students.  The clean-up crew that he’s starting with a friend will pay students to clean up garbage in local areas.

“I’m really just trying to explore the potential of this material and see how I can create values for it,” he said. “It’s about supporting students, not just me.”

Hunter plans to value his work a little more than what it’s worth at the pop-up, so that he can raise enough funds to engage students in the clean-up project  and provide a service that aims to benefit the environment.

Given that aluminum coil is a fragile material to work with; Hunter plans on framing each piece to reflect the connection between his work and the environment.

“The way these works are going to be treated and framed I think is going to say a lot about the delicacy of the material, how it should be treated, how it should be cared for, these are things that I want to reflect on a metaphorical level about how we should treat our environment.  ‘Oh they’re actually quite delicate and quite fragile’, you can’t just run around jump and play and throw them around or anything like that because it’ll ruin the image,” said Hunter.

Usually creating his unique design by hand, Hunter will unveil his newly designed press, cheekily named “Sheila”, at Pop-up at the Christmas Shop. The press will stamp images into the sheets of aluminum coil providing shoppers the ability to pick and choose on the spot which images they’d like.

Look for Hunter and his press at Pop-up at the Christmas Shop, Nov. 28 and Nov. 29, 1880 Hollis St., Halifax.

Grateful and committed to making a difference, Hunter could not be more excited about his work and what each new opportunity has to offer.

“What I really want people to remember or note in this work or in this pop-up show is that it’s a truly unique, amazing, rich experience to take part in and be a part of and it doesn’t really cost us anything besides our privilege of living here in Nova Scotia and you know the access to such resources,” he said.

“For me, to sit and reflect in such a studio environment, to really think about how I can make a difference with the possibilities of materials in the time that I’m given. I think it would be foolish not to try and create something sustainable.”

Working on various projects, including being artistic director for The Modulating Mansion, an independent label, recording studio and lounge, Hunter is confident in who he is and what he wants his career to reflect.

“I realized what I have to do as a person, I understand my ethical decisions, what I have to do in order to contribute and be a part of society or communities,” said Hunter.  “I’m from Toronto but that doesn’t mean I should be excluded from community in Halifax, in fact I know it is expected of me to engage in community and to find a job and this (his art) is a really neat way of doing that.”

He best summed up his efforts when he said “I don’t really care about making a lot of money; I just want to do a really good job.”

Hunter just recently got accepted for the NSCAD Art in Schools program in South Africa.  His work will be for sale and on display at Pop-up at the Christmas Shop located on 1880 Hollis St. from Friday, November 24 until Saturday, November 25.