We are saddened to bring you news that beloved folk artist Stephen Huneck, who celebrated dogs through his whimsical, tender works of art, is dead.
Huneck, 60, shot himself while sitting in a parked car ouside his psychiatrist’s office, reports the Washington Post.
Last week, financial troubles forced him to lay off most of his employees at his Dog Mountain Studio and his iconic Dog Chapel, near his home in St. Johnsbury, Vt. His wife, Gwen Huneck, said this devastated him.
Like many Americans, we had been adversely affected by the economic downturn, she wrote in a letter announcing his death. Stephen feared losing Dog Mountain and our home. Then on Tuesday we had to lay off most of our employees. This hurt Stephen deeply. He cared about them and felt responsible for their welfare.
Hunecks Dog Chapel, set on 170 bucolic acres on his Dog Mountain, is a testament to his deep love of dogs. Huneck hand carved the pews with dog art, and created stained-glass windows with dog images. Walls are heavy with notes to and photos of deceased dogs from people who visited from all over the world.
The story behind the Dog Chapel is worth reading in Hunecks own words on his website.
Hunecks artwork has a universal appeal not limited to dog lovers. Heres how Roberta Vesley, of the AKC, described it: “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.
Huneck will live on through his art.
We just wish he were still here to keep making the world a better and sweeter place.
We know many Dogsters have a special place in their heart for Stephen Huneck and his art. Please take a moment and leave a comment to share how his art has touched your life.