Many prominent public figures have turned to art as a solace in the midst of emotional and professional upheaval, and Hunter Biden, the son of President Joe Biden, is a particularly prominent example: after pulling himself out of the maw of destructive drug addition, Biden has pivoted to becoming an artist represented by the Georges Bergès Gallery with exhibitions and shows planned in Los Angeles and New York this fall. Biden has said in the past that painting “is literally keeping [him] sane,” and now, in a new interview with Artnet, Biden has offered more insight into his practice and the ideas that drive his art.
Although Biden’s art is arguably very emotive, given that one of his self-portraits includes words spoken by his brother, Beau Biden, shortly before the latter’s death, the painter disputes this interpretation. (As Beau Biden lost the capacity to speak as his death neared, he would repeatedly say “beautiful things” to Hunter Biden as a way of imploring him to focus on the good). “I don’t paint from emotion or feeling, which I think are both very ephemeral,” Biden told Artnet. “For me, painting is much more about kind of trying to bring forth what is, I think, the universal truth.”
“The universal truth is that everything is connected and that there’s something that goes far beyond what is our five senses and that connects us all,” Biden elaborated. “The thing that really fascinates me is the connection between the macro and the micro, and how these patterns repeat themselves over and over.”
In the fall, Biden’s canvases, some of which are amoeba-like while others bear greater resemblances to oil spills oozing over written poetry, will be put up for sale for prices ranging between $75,000 to $500,000. And overall, Biden seems determined to express that making art is, for him, no longer as cathartic a practice for him as one might imagine.
Creative expression, Biden insisted, is “not a tool that I use to be able to, in any way, cope. It comes from a much deeper place. If you stand in front of a Rothko, the things that he evokes go far beyond the pain that Rothko was experiencing in his personal life at that moment.”