By Norman Koplas
A single glimpse of a wildlife sculpture by Kenneth Bunn provides ample proof of the artistic precept that you don’t necessarily have to capture every minute detail to be true to life. “I work in impressionistic surfaces,” Bunn explains, “with the goal of being true to the spirit of the animal.” That interpretive quality makes works by Bunn, a respected Fellow of the National Sculpture Society, fairly thrum with energy. He modestly credits much of that lifelike nature to the fact that he has studied his subjects literally from the inside out, serving an apprenticeship early in his career to a master taxidermist for whom Bunn “worked from the bones up to create anatomical forms of animals in clay.”
Born: Denver, CO, 1935.
Resides: Denver, CO.
Proudest accomplishment: Each piece is my proudest accomplishment up to that point in time. You don’t want to feel like your proudest accomplishment is behind you.
What would you have done differently in your life? The business part of art prevents me from getting out and taking the African trips I used to take fairly regularly. You have to be with the animals and see them in their own surroundings.
Advice to young artists: Draw continually, to teach your hand to do what your eye sees.
Motto you have lived by over the years: While I don’t think we can ever achieve perfection, the work I do has to be right. But “right” can change from time to time. There’s always room for improvement.
Biggest misconception about an artist’s life: People think we’re footloose and fancy-free, with not a care in the world. But art is hard work.
How has your work changed since starting out? I take more time to study my subject than I used to.
How the art market has changed? More artists make their living with art, and there are more collectors.
Other interests: Being outdoors, hiking, going to museums, travel.
Recent news: In January, I’ll be in the Coors Western Art Exhibit and Sale at the National Western Stock Show in Denver.
He is represented by Gerald Peters Gallery, Santa Fe, NM; Parchman Stremmel Galleries, San Antonio, TX; Legacy Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ, and Jackson, WY; Valley Fine Art, Aspen, CO; Claggett/Rey Gallery, Vail, CO.
Featured in “Legends of Fine Art” in December 2008