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NXOEED’s Hidden

Gallery In Phoenix

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Phoenix Based Artist James B. Hunt Prepares To Unleash A Gallery Show, Treasure Hunt Style This Saturday In And Around Various Haunts Within The Phoenix Metro

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By Jeff Moses
Modern Times Magazine

May 8, 2014 — Like millions of self proclaimed artists worldwide, James B. Hunt draws, paints, and creates visual art. The thing that separates Hunt from the others is the way in which he chooses to display much of it.  For almost a decade Hunt, under the seemingly unpronounceable pseudonym NXOEED, has been hiding bits of his art all over the Phoenix Metro.

“It’s pathological to be honest. I hide the stuff pathologically, there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t hide something whether it’s out of my sketch book or I’ve got these little paintings that I hide,” said Hunt. ”Every once in while I ride back and check on them. I checked not to long ago there was something that was there in Mesa since 2005, its in pieces and the image is almost worn off. But it’s still there.”  

The artist said he is fond of taking “insanely” long bike rides around Phoenix, Tempe, and sometimes even into Mesa, everyday while listening to podcasts or audiobooks, and it is on his daily “ritual” ride that he hides much of his art.

Some of NXOEED’s favorite hiding spots include “A” Mountain in Tempe, as well places within Phoenix’s canal system.

“I like doing stuff along the canals because canal culture is its own thing in Phoenix. There is a whole community of canal people who are just out there doing their thing that they do. its fascinating,” said Hunt.

But not every piece goes into one of his favorite spots, sometimes it’s as simple as under a bush on Fifth street.

On May 10, Hunt will be hanging an entire gallery show at a hidden location that as of May 3 had not yet determined. The show according to Hunt is one part treasure hunt, one part art gallery exhibition, and one part social experiment. Though it was born of Hunt’s boredom with the traditional gallery opening festivities, this project is still more than just one artist sticking his nose up at all of the artists sticking their nose up at people.

“Part of it is an experiment to see if people would give a found space like that the same respect they’d give to a gallery or museum. Because it won’t be an environment where there are usually painting’s hanging it’ll probably be somewhere people don’t want to be,” said Hunt. Though his intention is to make the space as much like an art gallery as possible, even suggesting there might be a guest book for visitors to sign.

The other part of NXOEED’s experiment is to knock down the walls that he feels many artists have build around their art.

“This is for anybody who is willing to look. It’s not for a select few group of people, it’s for anyone who appreciates it at any level,” said Hunt.“I like knowing that it’s out there and knowing i can do something that doesn’t require four walls or a P.A. or any of that stuff.”

Hunt estimated that about 90 percent of the art he hides will never be identified again. And that it is likely that there are nearly 200 undiscovered NXOEED pieces out in the world.

It all started with one hidden painting in the desert in 2005.

“I loved the thought of it being there, I mean it could be there right now,” said Hunt.

That one painting grew into Hunt hiding all the unsold work he’d still had from that year, and eventually into him hiding his entire stock.

“I hid everything I owned and I didn’t think anyone would find it. But then I started posting clues to blogs and everything was found within hours,” he said.

This is not NXOEED’s first hidden gallery project. He pulled off a similar project in 2009 where he hung a series of paintings in downtown Phoenix that were all clues to find another series of paintings that was hidden in Tempe. But this is the first time that the veteran creative will be assigning rules to the hunt.

“Of course people may or may not follow the rules. I hope they do, and they’ll come see the paintings take the one they like and leave the rest for others. It may or may not work out that way, but its fine,” said Hunt.

According to Hunt, he is going to hide the 10 selected pieces at around 2:30 p.m., and then go to the nearest place that has free wifi to post all of the clues to the Facebook event page. Once the clues are posted anyone and everyone is encouraged to go out on the hunt. He said that the gallery will be in Central Phoenix, it will be between Osborn and Washington, and in between Central and Twenty Fourth Street, adding, “I am partial to a certain stretch of 16th street, 16th is kind of my favorite street.”

Jeff Moses a senior contributor at Modern Times Magazine. He can be reached at jmoses@moderntimesmagazine.com.
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