Lisa Hunt, celebrated artist, designer, creative director, and founding member of the influential Black Artists and Design Group (BADG) died January 20 at home in Maplewood, New Jersey. She was 55.
In a press release from her husband, Kyle Goen, the cause of death was announced as Leiomyosarcoma, a rare muscle cancer. Hunt is survived by Goen and their vizsla dog Sally, as well as her father and five siblings.
Hunt, who is best known for creating large-scale collages, sought self-knowledge through her art; her studio is where she would work ideas out and consider the histories and traditions that shaped the world in which she lived. In the multimedia works she created, sustainability was at the center of her material choices – paper scraps along with her signature gold leaf. But formally, things were even deeper, with references that included quilts that enslaved Africans used to help navigate the Underground Railroad.
In recent years, her work moved into the interiors world, with collaborations ranging from a fabric collection for Lori Weitzner; a line of tiles for Anne Sacks; window installations at Macy’s and the St. Regis Hotel in New York; as well as work on ELLE DECOR’s Obsidian Concept House with fellow members of BADG. Her work can be seen in the permanent collections of the Asheville Art Museum and Weisman Museum and in the pages of ELLE DECOR, Architectural Digest, Interior Design, and more.
“Her legacy is now an essential part of Black art and design history, and we will continue to celebrate and honor her,” BADG founder Malene Barnett shared in an Instagram post.
Hunt was born in Rome, New York on May 3, 1968 to Asha Hunt and James A. Hunt. She went on to study graphic design at Pratt Institute and enjoyed a 20-year career in graphic design and publishing—notably as the creative director of Essence. Beginning in 2015, however, she transitioned into a fine arts practice.
“As a visual artist and product designer, Lisa's dream came true,” Barnett continued. “She turned her screen-printed works on paper, canvas, and collages finished in her signature gold leaf into highly sought-after pieces. And if the gold needed more sheen, Lisa would let you know! Her creative journey inspired us.”
When we interviewed Hunt for our November 2023 Issue last year, her voice and vision were as clear as ever. But what stood out most was her kindness and optimism, despite her cancer diagnosis.
“Developing my practice has been such a personal journey,” she told us at the time. “And I am just starting to scratch the surface.”
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