Claire Bunkell is a South African artist, born in Cape Town in 1974. After graduating from the University of Cape Town with a BA degree in English Literature and Economics, Claire travelled to London where she embarked on a corporate career. During this time she travelled to Europe, Asia and Central America, where she developed a keen interest in photography.
Upon returning to Cape Town in 2003, Claire formally enrolled at the Ruth Prowse School of Art, graduating in 2008 with a diploma in Photography.
Claire spent her first year in the chemical darkroom and a further two years exploring the then emerging digital darkroom. Claire showcased her prints in three formal exhibitions, culminating in her final series of landscape images which explored Impressionism through the digital lens. To abstract her landscapes, Claire employed various photographic techniques such as blur, high-key exposure, low resolution and noise to limit detail. These combined to create a series of semi-realistic images with a dream like quality – the intention was to convey a sense of subjective idealism, challenging perception through imagination – a picture in the mind’s eye. This theme of abstraction – the idea of thoughts and light effecting perception, still resonates in her work today.
In 2014 Claire expanded her creative medium to include painting with acrylic on canvas. Harnessing her photographic background, she now paints large scale images, depicting real scenes in semi-abstracted form. Claire explores integrity and form as defining values in her work. Claire attributes much of her visual connection to her Art, to that of her interest in symbolism. As a conceptual artist she strives to capture movement and life, in an honest and emotive way. Claire embraces colour to communicate ideas and feelings around her subject, using layering techniques to create texture, movement and depth. Claire paints with mixed media acrylic, spontaneously applying her paint with the palette knife.
Over the years Claire has exhibited her work and sells her paintings and photographic prints to galleries, interior designers and private commissions, both locally and internationally.
Claire currently lives in Cape Town with her family, where she is constantly inspired by the people and the natural environment around her.