Harry Bunce has carved out a unique position in the art world with his cast of cute, but not always cuddly, creatures. His quirky and distinctive paintings and sculptures of rabbits and cats defy categorisation, combining illustration, street art and fine art with a biting sense of humour. Collectors have described his work as ‘Beatrix Potter meets Quentin Tarantino’ and dubbed him our ‘rural Banksy.’
After a brief and volatile spell at Art School, Harry studied Fashion and Textiles at Bristol and spent two decades working in fashion. In 2007 his life was changed by a simple question he was asked by an old school friend at a party – “How’s the art going?” – and he began to draw and paint around existing commitments, often working late into the night in a frenzied attempt to make up for lost time. The pieces he produced around this time had much in common with folk art: whimsical portraits of British wildlife that were designed to appeal to the general public and not to the elite of the art establishment.
The early influences which first sparked his interest in drawing and painting are still some of the most important to Harry, and he cites classic children’s authors and illustrators including Richard Scarry, Dr. Seuss and Beatrix Potter as key. In sharp contrast he acknowledges the impact of Punk, which blew his 10 year old self away when it erupted onto the UK music scene. Also into this eclectic mix come modern masters such as David Hockney and Keith Haring , whose familiar presence makes itself felt in his work on occasion.
By creating a space he could call his own within the burgeoning Bristol art scene Harry gained a loyal following. His work moved on, becoming increasingly distinctive and atmospheric. A chance collaboration with screen printing gurus, Screen One, who also worked with Banksy and Nick Walker, introduced a more graphic element to his style, sharpening its unique, slightly unnerving edge and, consequently, broadening his appeal. He was able to dedicate more time to his career as a professional artist and his work was greeted with growing enthusiasm. He is now an established figure on the British contemporary art scene.
Based in rural Somerset, Harry is a fierce defender of the countryside and wildlife that inspires much of his work, and he often raises environmental concerns. He has contributed to projects with various charities and environmental groups from Keep Britain Tidy to Greenpeace. His work is increasingly prized by collectors from all walks of life, and his admirers include BBC TV presenter Julia Bradbury and the late Jamaican record producer Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry.