Hamilton is proud of Sandor's daughters, Stacia and Sharly, both artists in their own right. Their father was a vegan chef when he died, so Charly took on the lifestyle, at the beginning, almost as a tribute. Later, he says, it became a conscious effort not to eat animals -- "It would be like eating someone's pet dog."
His dogs, Reason and Loola, are his constant companions, and he describes one beloved mutt as "part Jack Russell" and the other as "part russet potato."
Hamilton came to West Virginia in 1986.
"I like the people, I like the mountains, I like the shapes of the mountains," he said. He likes the isolated feeling that comes from living in the mountains. Many days, he can be seen with the pups in Kanawha State Forest, walks he calls his "meditation."
"God talks to me, be he nature or whatever," he said. "I don't really paint anything in Kanawha State Forest, but I'm influenced by all of those imagined people who've walked there -- the CCC, the Shrewsbury Cemetery. I don't mean to sound crazy, but I see the people who somehow linger in this world."
The women in his life have been angels as well as demons, he says, laughing
"I've gone back to my early days of carving -- I don't want the influence of anyone else right now. I'm not being too civilized, maybe a bit cruder, in my art.
"Working without a muse has made me less tame," he said. "The wives tried to cut off the rough edges."
The humor in his work is evident in a cut-in-half mermaid sculpture. He found the inspiration from a gag in the Archie McPhee novelties catalog.
"You know, the one where there's an arrow through your head, with one part sticking out over here, and then a wire up over here, and then the other side sticking out on this side? This mermaid can have her head in the kitchen, and her tail in the living room," Hamilton said, moving from one side of the wall to the other.
Hamilton doesn't own a press, but makes prints of his carvings using a brayer to ink the woodcut and then a wooden spoon, applied in a circular motion, to transfer the ink to heavy art paper. Rarely does he draw the works, he just cuts with his power tools in a makeshift studio attached to his jam-packed home on Anderson Heights Road.
He lives in a solitary world with his art. There's art on the walls, the doors, the floors, the cabinets, and where there's no art, there are books and paints and all the accoutrements of the two dogs. Music in the background is old rock, blues, jazz and a little Hank.
His art can be found in galleries and collections across the country. Actor Nicholas Cage owns a Hamilton. Celebrity attorney Alan Dershowitz bought several pieces from a Boston Gallery for his law offices in Massachusetts.
There will be more than 40 works in the exhibition, including 24-plus new works. The museum will record Hamilton's verbal narrative about five of the works in the show.
"You will be able to hear Charly Jupiter Hamilton's words in his own voice, telling you the stories about the work," Culligan said. "It will make you take that second, third, fourth look back at the painting or relief carving."
In the early "90s, Hamilton worked for the museum, leading its rural outreach program. The museum plays a large role in the popularity of his nickname, Jupiter.
"My mother had hired a guy who milked on the farm with my dad. I had a red freckle in my eye, so this guy named me Jupiter," Hamilton said.
"I hadn't used it in years. I was taking my stuff to the 280 show [Exhibition 280] at the Huntington Museum, back in the "80s, and I was really excited to be in the show, and I was all pumped up, and I went to write down my name on the forms and, for some reason, wrote Charles Jupiter Hamilton. It stuck."
Reach Sara Busse at sara.bu...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1249.