By Camille Aubin
camille@columbiavalleypioneer.com 

Local artists wishing to sell their creations as Christmas gifts this year may need to find different ways of doing it. The annual Magic of Christmas Craft & Artisan Fair was recently cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Instead of standing idly by and waiting until next year, many of them have found solutions online, through social networks or by pushing their sense of entrepreneurship by developing their own website. “When I found out that the Christmas market was cancelled, I realized that the best solution would be to have my own Christmas market online, via my website”, said Japhy Hunt, a local artist.

Japhy Hunt has been drawing for as long as he can remember. The first art show he had was at the age of nine. After that, he participated in six gallery shows at Pynelogs Art Gallery and Black Star Studios collectively, over the following seven years. “Having spaces like that, which are willing to showcase art (regardless of the artist’s age) has definitely been amongst my favourite things about growing up and creating in Invermere,” said Hunt. These days his artwork is a mix of dark humour and vintage themes, ranging in mediums from ink drawings and paintings to miniature clay sculptures.

Even if Hunt never had the chance to participate in the Magic of Christmas Craft & Artisan Fair before, he was looking forward to the in-person atmosphere of the market. “It made me realize how, left to our own devices, small businesses and local artisans (without a storefront) have to rely on their media abilities. Instagram is good for that, and I think that’s where I see the most engagement, even with local creators.”

I’m not super familiar with using Facebook’s ‘Buy and Swap’ or Marketplace as a platform for art, but I do know it’s a place where some post too. Black Star Studios has been really great at sharing valley-area work via their page, so keep an eye on there as well,” remarked the artist.

On Dec. 4, Japhy Hunt will be releasing a lot of his new creations on his website for the holiday season including limited edition canvas prints of ‘The Painted Valley’ as well as a variety of Christmas cards, and household items such as water bottles and coasters with his art printed on them.

“I suppose the best thing to do, this season, is to get in touch with your friends and family who are busy creating or crafting their own wares, as a source of your next holiday gift. And if you see a local person peddling their wares online, share it if you can,” said Hun. “It may be their only avenue to get the word out. This is also a perfect time to get inspired. Maybe you can find a unique gift for someone this year or create your own!”

If you have any questions about Hunt’s artwork, you can contact him at japhyhunt@gmail.com, or follow him on Instagram for updates @japhyhunt and his website at japhyshinehunt.com.