Hunter Potter's paintings that explore masculinity through small-town Americana

Two Faces Two Cases, 2019, Acrylic and oil stick on canvas © Hunter Potter

In his new series, I Ain't Half The Man I Wanted To Be, New York-based artist Hunter Potter takes a closer look at the expectations of masculinity, and how his own life might've played out if he'd chosen a different path.

Massively exaggerated and often fantastical, Potter's paintings pay homage to the various people and lifestyles observed and experienced from his upbringing. They seem to reflect his potential role and position in romantic small-town America.

Potter mines his memories and nostalgia to examine, quite simply, the man that he could have, and perhaps wishes he had become. Often presented through symbolic Wild West metaphors, the paintings are both idealised and self-critical. These hyper-masculine characters clad in flannel, cowboy boots, and prison stripes, work to question the very expectation of what it means to be a "real" American man in the 21st century.

The paintings place Potter's own life experiences into the broader arena of Americana folklore: stories that are neither past nor present, fact nor fiction, right nor wrong, but more so a recognisable combination of it all.

Born in 1990 in Syracuse, NY, Hunter Potter studied studio art at the University of Vermont where he graduated in 2013. He moved to New York City in 2015 and spent time commercial sign painting before establishing his studio in Brooklyn.

I Ain't Half The Man I Wanted To Be goes on display at London's PUBLIC Gallery from 5 February until 29 February 2020. Discover more at www.hunterpotter.com.

How Am I Supposed To Get Any Riding Done, 2019, Acrylic and oil stick on canvas © Hunter Potter

How Am I Supposed To Get Any Riding Done, 2019, Acrylic and oil stick on canvas © Hunter Potter

Grab Your Things, I've Come To Take You Home, 2019, Acrylic and spray paint on canvas

Grab Your Things, I've Come To Take You Home, 2019, Acrylic and spray paint on canvas

And It Stoned Me, 2019, Acrylic, oil stick and spray paint on canvas © Hunter Potter

And It Stoned Me, 2019, Acrylic, oil stick and spray paint on canvas © Hunter Potter

That's Us, 2019, Acrylic, oil stick and spray paint on canvas © Hunter Potter

That's Us, 2019, Acrylic, oil stick and spray paint on canvas © Hunter Potter

And This I Would Fight For, 2019, Acrylic, oil stick and spray paint on canvas © Hunter Potter

And This I Would Fight For, 2019, Acrylic, oil stick and spray paint on canvas © Hunter Potter

Love Hurts, 2019, Acrylic and oil stick on canvas © Hunter Potter

Love Hurts, 2019, Acrylic and oil stick on canvas © Hunter Potter

Up and Vanished, 2019, Acrylic, oil stick and spray paint on canvas © Hunter Potter

Up and Vanished, 2019, Acrylic, oil stick and spray paint on canvas © Hunter Potter