Eric Hurnyak grew up in Stony Brook with his grandparents. Not unlike some other teens itching to quell that age-old adolescent boredom, Hurnyak latched onto the dicey sport of skateboarding. What now seems like a modern suburban tale—a boy and his skateboard vs. the world (no longer that boy and his horse), most likely complete with a Slurpee, flitting from the cops and a bloody elbow—has suddenly modulated into something not even Hurnyak could predict. As a founder of the Long Island Creative Vortex collective and initiator of the “Shifting Reality Across Long Island” project, he became an integral leader in the Long Island art community.
The impetus was simple, “I loved skating, but I really fell in love with the artwork on the boards. I knew at once that I wanted to draw and paint.
Fast forward two decades, now an artist and musician, Hurnyak, 38, is pioneering an interactive community-based art project that’s bent on bringing artists, musicians and all of Long Island together. His venture is about working collaboratively on a piece of artwork entitled “Reality.” “This Shifting Reality Across Long Island Project concept was born in my backyard where I’d meet with a group of artists to work together. There was something to the communal environment that was inspiring. So I began to imagine it working on a larger scale with more people from all over just painting together. I knew how important creating was to me so I hoped others could share this same joint experience.”
His hope came true as artists on all levels across Long Island have joined together at packed houses to participate in this project and put their stamp on the communal artwork. “People get together in the spirit of collaboration. And they literally change ‘reality’ by painting over this wood canvas that has the word ‘Reality’ built into it, allowing them to leave their imagination on a space that will constantly evolve from event to event.”
Since January, about once a week, the collective has met at various locations, which will culminate on June 1 with the 15th and final gathering at the East End Arts’ First Fridays in Riverhead. Each event is supported by local musicians and often includes food and beverages.
Hurnyak has big plans to bring this concept to an even larger crowd. “Ultimately, what I’d like to do is large scale events that promote social unity through art and this unique voice. Work with more people that aren’t necessarily artists and introduce them to the power of creating their own realities.”
Long Island Creative Vortex: “Shifting Reality Across Long Island”
East End Arts’ First Fridays
Friday, June 1
133 East Main Street, Riverhead
Great South Bay Music Festival
Friday, July 13
Shorefront Park, Patchogue