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“Some people like dogs,” Hunt Slonem once said. “I’m kind of a sucker for birds.” The artist has 60 pet birds, many of whom reside in his Brooklyn studio among half-finished artworks, 19th-century Parisian vases, Persian rugs, and brightly-upholstered salvaged furniture. “It’s a wonderland of jungles and living birds and antiques,” the artist has said of his studio, where he paints his feathered friends daily. Slonem’s bright canvases and exotic subjects are inspired by the lush environments of Hawaii, Louisiana, and Nicaragua, where the artist spent his youth as the son of a Navy officer. In addition to using vivid colors (“the elixir of life,” according to Slonem), the artist also paints delicate cross-hatching over the birds, alluding to the bars of a birdcage.

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