By Steven Huneck
"In the world of struggling artists, Stephen Huneck's success has been meteoric. He is a strong believer in fate, and perhaps that is part of the explanation. There is no doubt that his figures are whimsical, amusing and charming, but they also have the power to evoke an immediate emotional response in anyone who sees them. Therein lies their wide and ever-growing appeal." ~ Roberta Vesley, Library Director, AKC.
Stephen Huneck's home and studio are in St. Johnsbury, Vermont which he shares with his wife, Gwen and his three dogs. Two Black Labs Artie and Sally and Molly a Golden Retriever. Stephen and Gwen have totally furnished their home with Stephen's artwork. He works in his private studio attached to their house. Near their home is Dog Mountain where the Dog Chapel is located. You can often meet Stephen at his primary gallery in Woodstock, VT on Saturdays personalizing books and artwork.
The Dog Chapel
Several years ago, I became seriously ill. It came out of the blue - Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrome, an often fatal illness. I was in a coma for two months, and the doctors gave me little chance of survival. My wife Gwen refused to believe that I was not going to make it. They were very concerned for her. She slept on the floor of the hospital to be close to me at night, and spoke to me while I was in the coma. This made a deep impression on the doctors and nurses. Once the doctors told her I was passing away and doubted I would make it through the night. They told her they were very sorry and had tried everything. Well, that night I did stop living for about five minutes. I had a profound experience. I came out of the coma about two weeks later, to everyone's surprise, except Gwen's. I had an amazingly strong recovery - I was 45 years old and had to learn to walk again (quite a humbling experience). But I must say the near-death experience, combined with what my wife taught me about love, and the appreciation I felt toward the most basic things we take for granted all had a profound effect on me. As an artist, I share the feelings I have with others through my art.I wanted to build a chapel, one that celebrated the spiritual bond we have with our dogs, and that would be open to dogs and people. People of any faith or belief system.
I built the chapel on Dog Mountain, our mountain-top farm in St. Johnsbury, VT. I have styled it in the manner of a small village church built in Vermont around 1820. It is important to me that the chapel looks like it belongs with its setting of rolling mountains and pasture. The white steeple points up to the heavens, and on the top is a Lab with wings that turns in the wind and proclaims this place has a special affinity with dogs.
View Larger Map