Born in 1967 and raised in a small Hampshire village, Harry Bunce was a prolific artist throughout his childhood, drawing on anything that was available. His family were builders who were supportive but ill-equipped to guide him beyond school (Harry was to become the first member of his family to get a degree). A short and volatile spell at the local art school almost killed his love of art: “You weren’t allowed to like Hockney, and he was the only one I knew”. Disillusioned, he moved west to the city of Bristol to study Fashion and Textiles. Following graduation, he worked for twenty happy, but ultimately unfulfilled, years in the fashion industry.
In 2007, he attended the fortieth birthday party of an old school friend. When meeting people he had not seen for several decades, the only question asked of him was, “How’s the art going?” This event proved pivotal; he resolved then and there to return to ART.
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 early pieces feel almost deliberately ‘anti-art’: portraits of rabbits, foxes, etc. (reimagined childhood heroes and villains) that would not have looked out of place in a country pub, his rationale being that his audience was the public, not the critics. His work then and now has much in common with ‘Folk Art’, and he considers himself largely self-taught, but it defies easy categorisation.
By creating a space he could call his own within the burgeoning Bristol art scene Harry quickly gained a loyal following. 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 unwittingly broadening his appeal.
Harry often raises environmental concerns and is a fierce defender of the countryside. He has contributed to projects with Greenpeace (2014) and Keep Britain Tidy (2020). He now works in rural Somerset. His 2020 solo show Harry Bunce / On Hold was a sell-out, and Harry has recently shown at the Saatchi Gallery in London.
Selected exhibitions and art fairs
2022 Group Show, Burner, Michael Murphy Galley, Tampa
2022 AAF Battersea, London
2022 AAF Hampstead, London
2022 Group Show, Burner, AO5 Galley, Austin
2022 Group Show, Art Save the Queen, Ad Lib Gallery, London
2021 Group Show, Shrine, New York (online exhibition)
2021 AAF Battersea, London
2021 Solo Show, Beat the Blues, Clifton Fine Art, Bristol
2020 AAF Battersea, London
2020 Solo Show, On Hold, Clifton Fine Art, Bristol
2020 Start, Saatchi Gallery, London
2019 AAF Battersea, London
2019 Fresh Art Fair, Cheltenham
2019 AAF Hampstead, London
2019 Fresh Art Fair, Ascot
2019 Manchester Art Fair, Manchester
2018 AAF Battersea, London
2018 Fresh Art Fair, Cheltenham
2018 AAF Hampstead, London
2018 Upfest, Bristol
2018 Annual Open Exhibition, RWA, Bristol
2018 Group Show, Rebel, Reem Gallery, London
2018 Solo Show, Gallery 21, Salisbury
2017 AAF Battersea, London
2017 Fresh Art Fair, Cheltenham.
2017 AAF Hampstead, London
2017 Solo Show, Cloud Gallery, Worthing + Brighton
2016 AAF Battersea, London
2016 AAF, Bristol
2016 AAF, New York
2015 AAF Bristol.
2015 Solo Show, Images in Frames Gallery, London
2014 Group Show, Clifton Fine Art, Bristol
2013 Group Show, Clifton Fine Art, Bristol