Hank Bull will be one of three “first responders” – responding to the keynote speech on the Importance of the Community Arts at our AGM, November 25, 2010, @ Chapel Arts. All welcome.
Born in Calgary, Canada, in 1949, Hank Bull was raised in Ontario and Nova Scotia and has resided in Vancouver since 1973. He took up painting and music at an early age. After travels in Europe in 1968, he studied at the New School of Art, Toronto, under Robert Markle, Nobuo Kubota, Ken Lywood, Gordon Raynor and Dennis Burton.
In 1973 he moved to Vancouver to join the Western Front, one of Canada’s first artist-run centres, where he became involved in performance, video, radio and telecommunications art.
He and Patrick Ready, working together as “HP”, founded the HP Radio Show in 1976, “scientifically designed to help you prepare, eat and digest your dinner.” This unusual program aired on Vancouver Co-operative radio, broadcasting from Pigeon Park, until 1984. During this time, he and Patrick shared a house at 422 Alexander Street, across from the Japanese Language School.
The two worked with Kate Craig, Martin Bartlett and others at Western Front on a wide range of performance and video projects, in particular “shadow plays” that combined film and live electronic music with puppets and performance. These eventually went on tour to Europe.
Hank was an early adopter of telecommunications technologies and, between 1978 and 1986, joined a global network of artists who produced collective works using distance transmission of video and text.
In 1980-81 he made an extended trip around the world with Kate Craig, meeting artists in Japan, Indonesia, India, Cameroon, Yugoslavia and France. In the wake of this experience, he co-founded, with Robert Filliou, the Afro-Asiatic Combine, “to research the influence of African and Asian thought on Western culture.”
He has produced collaborative works with many other artists. His work is represented in the collections on the National Gallery of Canada and the New York Museum of Modern Art, and was included in the Venice Biennale 1986, Dokumenta 1987 and Ars electronic 1989.
An active member of his community, he served for five years on the Sectoral Committee for Arts and Culture of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO and has been a regular contributor to Art Matters, an initiative of Her Excellency Michaëlle Jean, Governor General.
He was a co-founder of the Vancouver International Centre for Contemporary Asian Art (Centre A) in 1999, where he was executive director until 2010, producing over 80 original exhibition projects by Canadian and international artists.