Reasons to visit AAF Bristol

Channel Orange by Rowdy via Clifton Fine ArtToday the Affordable Art Fair returns to Bristol. *squealswithjoy* Brunel’s Old Station at Temple Meads is already filling up with gorgeous artwork, and I can’t wait to get down there!

If you are after something special and spectacularly original, it’s a great place to go with a wad of cash or a healthy credit card in your pocket. Galleries from across the UK will be representing some extraordinary artists. I’ll be looking out for the Clifton Fine Art stand, which will feature work by the likes of Harry Bunce, Steve Slimm and graffiti artist Rowdy, who painted the vivid beauty at the top of this page.

Waiting For The Cloads To Break by Steve Slimm via Clifton Fine Art

Waiting For The Cloads To Break by Steve Slimm

The fair launches with a Private Charity View tonight from 5.30pm – 9.30pm, and is then open on Friday 9th Sept from 11am – 5pm, with a late view from 5-8pm, on Saturday 10th Sept from 11am till 6pm and on Sunday 11 Sept from 11am till 5pm.

For me the best part is simply to meander the vast space of the Old Station, traversing corridors of exceptional art and letting it set my imagination alight.

Find full details here.

Harry Bunce’s opinionated animals

The Gift by Harry Bunce

The Gift © Harry Bunce

Not all animals are dumb, in either sense of the word. Harry Bunce’s canny critters are lively, often stylish and almost always opinionated.

But what starts an artist down such a curiously anthropomorphic route?

“I was born in 1967 and grew up in a small Hampshire village in a rural working class family,” Harry says. “I was a blissfully happy child but frequently fell ill, and had fevers and saw nightmarish visions. The first ‘art’ I can recall was by Margaret Tempest, Beatrix Potter and Richard Scarry. At school I was known ‘the one who was good at art’, so I think I just thought I would be an artist when I grew up, simple. I had no plan and no one to discuss the idea with, I imagined I would be ‘discovered’ at some point.”

Around about 1973 Harry’s cousin Gary gave him some Marvel comics, fuelling his interest in art further. “I was lost to them, I pawed over every inch. Mum and Dad kindly arranged to have a weekly comic delivered, and Thursday was the best day of the week because it was Mighty World of Marvel day. The artists (Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko etc) were Gods to me. I dreamt of Stan Lee taking me to New York.”

In 1976, aged nine, Harry was just developing a fledgling love of pop music and the associated imagery when he saw the Sex Pistols on the front of a newspaper. “The images drove me mad – they seemed impossible, shocking, harsh, ugly, beautiful. I had no way to hear the music, but it didn’t matter, I just imagined it! The seed of a plan was really sown then, all that stuff, the idea that you could just do it yourself.”

And yet the experience of creating art itself culminates in a sheer, sublime sort of peace at odds with the angst of what he describes as the ‘punk ethic.’ “The real moment of joy is when I finish a piece, nothing is making it feel wrong anymore, that’s it, the fight’s over.”

Another Grey Day by Harry Bunce

Another Grey Day © Harry Bunce

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