Delightfully, the wonderful botanical, animal, landscape and still-life painter and career-long champion of the museum and art scene of Jacksonville, Florida — artist John Bunker, has agreed to be the inaugural NAI Hallmark Partners featured artist for the months of August – October.
Showing August 12th through October 31
6675 Corporate Center Pkwy Suite 100
Jacksonville, FL 32216
John Bunker’s work seduces and beckons our attention. Flowers dance and diaphanous angels soar through the vibrant paintings in rich, deep colors accented by metallic swirls and curlicues. As one art critic expressed, “The subjects of his paintings are simmering with energy, saturated with fragments of color, and wonderfully alive.”
Beyond creating an extensive and varied body of work over his almost 50 year career as a professional artist, Bunker has also sustained an impressive museum career – which includes being the long-term associate director and interim director of the Jacksonville Art Museum and director of the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens. He is a graduate of both the Smithsonian Institution’s Fundamentals of Museum Management and the J.P. Getty’s Museum Management Institute UC Berkeley.
As an active volunteer in the Jacksonville Community, John Bunker has served as President of the Riverside Fine Arts Association Concert Board, a member of JaxPride, Chairman of the Koger Gallery of Art and Gardens Advisory Committee, curator of the Jacksonville International Airport Arts Commission, member of art in Public Places committee, board member of Patrons of the HeArts, board member JAG, and vestry member of the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd.
John Bunker’s artworks are included in numerous museum, corporate, public and private collections in the United States and abroad. Several corporate collectors include: A T&T Universal Card, The Mayo Clinic, First Coast Oncology Centers, Nordstroms, First Union Bank, Bank of America, North Florida Community College, Vistakon, The Florida Senate, Riverside House of Junior League, Orlando Jetport, Timuquana Country Club, Stein Mart, The Jacksonville Museum of Modern Art, and the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens.
In 2007, John Bunker received the Individual Arts Award from the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville in recognition of three decades of leadership in the First Coast community.
Interview with John Bunker by JJ
How did you come up with ideas for your art?
As a native of Florida, my art works are reflected through my observation of the Florida environment as well as my travels worldwide. Through my years in the museum field and the opportunity to curate exhibitions with diverse historical art works, I’ve had the opportunity to study a wide variety of art both contemporary and historical.
How did you make it? (physical and mental process)
For an artist, the creative process is both mental and physical. Over my 50 years as a visual artist, I have worked with drawing, painting, mixed media and even 3 dimensional forms of expression. My current medium is predominately painting large works on canvas and paperboard, supplanted by my first love, watercolor on arches paper.
The process includes a serious session with design of the image (planned carefully and organized with drawing on canvas, followed by over painting). Currently I am intrigued by scumbling, and layered painting using many colors and textures and reflective/metallic overlays.
What do you see as the strengths of your art, visually or conceptually?
I believe an artist constantly has to search for growth in concept as well as technique. I am fascinated by the development of my Quadrant Series which incorporates at least 4 different images/subjects within one canvas, working independently and then as a whole. (note the painting “Cummer Gardens: Evening Panoply” in the permanent collection of the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens) I believe this concept is unique to me. It is definitely challenging which keeps one fresh through continuous searching.
What is the best comment you have ever heard from a patron and/or viewer of your artwork?
I’ve been blessed with positive feedback during my career. Strong reviews in news articles, book publications, as well as critiques by art historians and professional reviewers. Here are a few examples:
“A museum curator, museum director and celebrated still life artist, Bunker’s name is synonymous with intellectual rigor, administrative prowess and an elegant cerebral creativity….. “Complex, beautiful and challenging, Bunker’s unique still lifes of shells, flowers and fish are metaphors for his elegant approach to painting and his constantly evolving life and work.” Picturing Florida Susan M. Gallo. 2008 Fresco Fine Arts Publications.
“In the hands of a gifted artist simple objects from nature can be transformed into both literal and metaphorical jewels. Such is the case with the work of John Bunker….Bunker has an enormous technical prowess coupled with a keen vision and understanding of his work, and very importantly, a highly critical temperament….Bunker handles color deftly and surely with astonishing results.” Richard A. Madigan, curator/director “Paintings by John Bunker”
“One could say the addition of metallics – gold, silver and bronze paintings – to the Jacksonville artist’s already achingly beautiful paintings is too much, too exotic, too aesthetic. But then you’d be denying yourself a sight sensation.” From “John Bunker Adds Glitter to his work” Art review Catherine Enns, The Florida Times Union
What artist or artists – art historic or contemporary – inspire you the most?
I am inspired by a whole range of art movements dating from the Medieval period and earlier until the present time. I’ve always been enamored of the Asian arts, particularly Japanese and Chinese paintings and screens. Abstraction by the artists of the 1950’s and of course the impressionists who pioneered what abstractionists are creating to this day.
Matisse, Picasso, Bonnard, Vuillard, John Singer Sargent, Helen Frankenthaler Josef Rafael are just a few influences to mention here, though I believe one can learn through observation and appreciation by all who have gone before.