Not Just Scrap

Local Artist Sam Hundley Turns Junk Into Gems

Scrap Artist opens new store in Norfolk

I wish I’d done it 20 years ago,” asserts artist Sam Hundley on the afternoon of the formal opening of his new Norfolk studio at 2501 Fawn St. “And,” he quips, “my wife wishes I’d done it 30.”    

Hundley refers to Lynn, his wife of 27 happy years, as “a saint” for her good-natured and whole-hearted support of his artistic habit, which gradually took over their house. Recent plans to downsize provided “the impetus to finally move into a studio away from home.”

A practicing artist for decades, Hundley’s full-time employment has been with The Virginian-Pilot since 1984 (except for a brief stint from 1990–93), first as a news artist, now as a projects designer. Though he hasn’t actively 
pursued freelance work since 2000, “If the right assignment comes along and it sounds like fun, I’ll do it,” like, say, the October 2012 National Geographic magazine cover.

Found objects have become a part of Hundley’s art for many years, albeit rarely. However, in the 1990s, he recalls that he “crossed a Rubicon when I stopped caring if people saw me picking up large pieces of junk from the roadside,” though he had no specific plans to do anything with it. But in 2009 he discovered artist Mark Fisher’s “Metal Men,” and “It was as if a spigot was turned on full blast ... I’ve been a devoted scrap artist ever since.”

Hundley coined the term “American Scrap Artist” while working on the poster for his first one-man show, a pop-up exhibit in April 2012 at Monticello Arcade in Norfolk entitled “Look What I Found,” organized by Cindy Mackey (see sidebar). “It dawned on me that I’m a distinctly American folk artist who, after having consumed this country’s history, scenery, advertising, art, politics, music, literature, photography and pollen for 50 years, am now regurgitating all that into my personal art.”