Simon Bull

Dream Catcher by Simon Bull
Deep In My Heart by Simon Bull
Hip Hop by Simon Bull
Heart Of Gold by Simon Bull
Green by Simon Bull
Close To You by Simon Bull
Fab by Simon Bull
Carnival by Simon Bull
Empress by Simon Bull
Words Unspoken by Simon Bull
Big by Simon Bull
Widely acknowledged as a leading contemporary floral, landscape and abstract artist, British-born (yet now an American citizen), Simon Bull’s portfolio isn’t what you might call gender specific as it covers much graphic ground. In fact, a better question would be to ascertain just what Bull HASN’T painted during his career, given that he’s illustratively tackled everything from floral, hearts, musical instruments and landscapes through to the butterflies, frogs, traditional still life (yeah, a lot of fruit in bowls), ‘nostalgia’ pieces and, er, umbrellas to date.

The second of four children, Bull was born and raised in Bedfordshire, England in 1958, however due to his father’s career as a serving officer in the Army’s Chaplain’s Department, the family found themselves routinely posted to more far flung destinations than rural Bedfordshire; including Honk Kong, Germany and Guyana. Having said that Bull was sent to boarding school in Yorkshire to afford him some continuity during his formative years, where he also attended Ripon Cathedral Choir School, before swapping Yorkshire for Surrey later, and attending the Royal Russell School. Thereafter Bull undertook a one year art foundation course at Gloucestershire College of Art and Design in 1976, before going on to win a place on the BA (Hons) Fine Art degree course offered by Leeds Polytechnic, from where he graduated in 1980.

During this period Bull studied the art of printmaking under Norman Webster RE and Norman Ackroyd RA, whilst his interest in the works of the masters such as Henri Fantin-Latour, Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin and Rembrandt was first ignited in this environment. Presenting his composition entitled, ‘Jackie’ at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition that year, this piece was subsequently acquired by Leeds City Art Gallery. And so began Bull’s recognition and what was to become the universal appeal of his future body of work.

Deciding to turn professional immediately on completion of his degree course, Bull put on his first one man show in 1976, the location, Hong Kong. Since then, the accomplished and hugely respected contemporary artist has overseen his work showcased throughout the world, with exhibitions staged in Great Britain, Amsterdam, Paris, Bologna Italy, Dubai, Japan and across America. Bull has collaborated with – and consequently represented by – some of the biggest art publishers out there, including DeMontford Fine Art here in the UK and Media Arts Group in the USA.

Furthermore, the world’s largest independently-owned art dealership – Park West Gallery – has been instrumental in the mass exposure of Bull’s work, especially having secured prime wall space for a host of his signature compositions on some of the most iconic cruise liners that circumnavigate the globe’s waters on a regular basis. Amongst these include the Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, Holland America, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Carnival, The Yachts of Seabourn and Windstar Cruises.

Then, arguably one of Bull’s finest illustrative hours took place in 2007, when he was invited to originate a series of compositions which celebrated the life of former heavyweight boxing champion of the world, Muhammad Ali. Suitably impressed with the end result, Bull was contacted again two years later by Ali’s people to not only paint another likeness of the world’s most iconic fighter, but also to create a portrait of the President of the United States of America himself, Barack Obama. These two completed commissions were unveiled on the eve of the Presidential Inauguration in Washington DC.

This was all a far pictorial cry from Bull’s early artistic direction, which was predominantly concentrated on the natural world, and specifically landscapes, flowers, farm animals and pastoral scenes. Adopting the popular ‘plein air’ method of working, Bull travelled extensively throughout Britain, the Mediterranean and Asia, documenting and depicting what he saw in an unobtrusive and virtually naturalistic style. Interestingly, Bull’s initial etchings and watercolours were detail-rich affairs, whereas his now trademark bold colours and this more gestural application of the painted medium came to the fore in the early 1990s. it was at this point forward that Bull was characterized as something of a colourist, first and foremost, and a creative persuasion that he’s made his own ever since.

What evolved in Bull’s case was this method of illustratively melding etching, aquatint, acrylics, pastel and gold leaf together so as to manifest a commercially-savvy and well-received look and feel that went on to record such huge successes in the global art market. Never more so than in his native Britain as well as Germany, Spain, Holland, Belgium and the US; culminating in Bull being handed the Fine Art Trade Guild Artist Print Award in the UK back in 2000. As the 1990s drew to a close Bull was experimenting on larger scale projects, fusing both oils and acrylics and finding himself increasingly influenced by the fruits of his own garden labour. Spurred on by this Bull generated a series of intensely-coloured large close-ups of various floral attributes that were ultimately exhibited at his sell-out one man show hosted by Harrods in London.

Then with giclee printing ushering in a new dawn of detailed reproduction combined with the emergence of a buoyant North American market for his work after the year 2000, Bull changed his medium allegiance and chose to work on canvas henceforth to seize this initiative. The strident floral imagery which had been Bull’s mainstay since pretty much year dot was giving way to more abstract and spontaneous styles by 2007, a period which witnessed the versatile and forward-thinking artist explore different ways to administer his paint. Bull’s current work represents a distillation and simplification resulting from almost four decades of artistic development expressing exuberance, pathos, purity, nostalgia and joy. Bull’s recent Art Candy collection paints its floral subject matter in the sweetest of compositional perspectives and although hankering back to his floral past is executed in a very modern compositional format.

In terms of awards, Bull has gained an enviable collection over the years, including multiple National Association of Limited Edition Dealers awards in recognition Graphic Print/Lithograph of the Year, whilst in 2003 the artist made history by becoming the first British exponent to win the NALED award for his print ‘The Journey Never Ends’. An unprecedented feat which he repeated 12 months on with his ‘Bird of Paradise’ painting. In 2004 Bull was again decorated on behalf of NALED as he bagged the industry awarding body’s prestigious ‘Medal of Honour’ for artistic services to the limited edition industry. What’s more, in 2000 Bull won the British Fine Art Trade Guild award (Artist Print Award) for the top selling original print artist in Great Britain, which he’d previously been short-listed for in 1997, whilst in 2002 Bull was selected to commemorate the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, the results of which were unveiled at an event in New York City, while in 2000.

Bull’s work was in such demand across America that the artist arrived at the decision to immigrate there in 2003, and today his home (and studio surround) is found in the Monterey Bay area of California, while Bull obtained American Citizenship as of 2011.

View All Art Works By Simon Bull