New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

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Through Video Art, First-Year Video Jockey Transforms Concert Experiences

Webb Hunt turns music into an experience for both the ears and the eyes.
Webb Hunt poses in front of neon lights. The Gallatin first-year video jockey incorporates such video elements with music. (Photo by Lukas Sheehan)

The room glows in neon. Distorted images projected upon the walls pulse to a psychedelic rhythm. We are not in a trendy converted warehouse in Bushwick or highbrow bar in the Meatpacking District. We’re in a dorm room at Third North. (And no, it’s not one of the loft-floor parties either.)

This is the dorm room of Gallatin first-year Webb Hunt, and he’s displaying just a fragment of his video projection art. He stands behind his projector clad in all black, operating the projector with hands whose fingernails are coated with chipped black polish. He responds to questions in a smooth, slightly raspy voice and his relaxed demeanor seems to put everyone in the room at ease. His small audience is completely engrossed by the images he projects; he captures their attention as only a talented member of the artistic vanguard can. 

In addition to concentrating in the theory, philosophy and political implications of art, Hunt creates his own video art for both installations and live VJ performances. (VJing is live mixing and curating of a video art display from a library that the video jockey has created themselves. It often accompanies live music and is designed to synchronize with the music.) 

Hunt, who hails from Nashville, has always been invested in creativity in all capacities. At his all-boys preparatory high school, he ran a music and arts festival to help cultivate an artistic environment that he had found his school lacked. Hunt personally curated a lineup that was a mix of local artists and talented students from his school. He had long had his eyes set beyond Nashville and knew NYU was the place for him after attending a summer arts program at the university. 

“I chose NYU because Gallatin was really the only program that allowed me to study what I want in a city I loved,” Hunt said. 

Prior to video art, Hunt had experience with other visual art styles, having experimented with various mediums, ranging from screen printing to oil painting. His passion for video only began about a year ago. He then decided to collect analog video equipment, from which he mixes and projects his work, and it soon took off.

To create the videos themselves, Hunt uses digital VJing software. His own work typically includes rich neon hues and mind-numbing abstract imagery. 

“Ever since I’ve been in New York, I’ve been doing studies on pure shape, form and color,” Hunt said. Those have been my only guidelines so I can harness the analog waves, if you will.”

His creative process varies according to the type of music it is projected against, be it dance or alternative music. 

“For live bands, I’ll loop video and try to create a lot of feedback, in order to make something organic that doesn’t look too spliced,” Hunt said. 

In the alternative arena, he has done the most work for his brother’s Brooklyn-based indie band, Acid Dad, for which he is also the permanent visual artist. 

Besides alternative live music, Hunt also performs at raves against the backdrop of EDM. He expressed his hope to expand more into this scene, having performed some of his favorite gigs at such events. 

“One of my favorite shows was my first warehouse rave in Nashville that I did a couple of months ago,” Hunt said. “There were actually two VJs there, including myself. That was crazy.”

Hunt’s upcoming performances include an Oct. 4 show at the Music Hall of Williamsburg for Acid Dad. He’ll also be collaborating with visual artist, Spaghetti Jesus, for performances by Meatbodies and Psychedelic Porn Crumpets later in the evening. Until then, you can view more of his art by following his Instagram.

Email Chad Evans at [email protected].

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