Hunter Biden, keeping demons at bay as an artist

Hunter Biden Flickr

Hunter Biden has put down the crack pipe and picked up the paintbrush, according to a New York Times interview in which the son of the former vice president says that painting “puts my energy toward something positive”. The profile describes nearly 100 kaleidoscopic paintings—ranging from psychedelic florals to microscopic and macroscopic patterns—displayed in the pool house that Biden has turned into a studio in the Hollywood Hills in Los Angeles. The 50-year-old self-taught artist, a former lawyer and political lobbyist, creates his work with a brush or by blowing alcohol ink onto Japanese Yupo paper with a metal straw. His practice is “something I’ve taken seriously for a long time but hasn’t necessarily been for public consumption”, he says. Biden, who was at the centre of a controversial request by President Donald Trump for a Ukrainian investigation into his work with the gas company Burisma, has spoken publicly about his struggle with drug and alcohol addiction and says that art and creative writing are “all he has left”, a means to keep his demons at bay. But, does Biden have what it takes to climb the echelons of the art world? While some argue that his public image could overshadow his art-making, others are less cynical. “There’s probably going to be a lot of curiosity if he turns out to be a great artist,” Beth Rudin DeWoody, a board member of the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Hammer Museum, was quoted as saying.