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Meet L.T. Bunning of L. T. Bunning Art

Today we’d like to introduce you to L.T. Bunning.

L.T., can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
My story starts in Burbank at a hospital near Disney Studios where my cartoon animator parents welcomed me into the world, a fourth-generation Southern Californian. We lived in North Hollywood. I guess one could say art is in my blood. Growing up, I had a passion for drawing and painting that continued with the support of education and encouragement from my parents and large family, mostly artists. Being surrounded by art of many kinds made for a very fulfilling childhood.

At fifteen, I took my first official painting class at a place called Young Rembrandts in Studio City. I thoroughly enjoyed it and very soon became an assistant teacher. I continued teaching art through my late teens. At age 18, it was time to accelerate my learning process through life drawing (a method of learning directly from a live, human model), instructed by Karl Gnass. For years, I continued studying with minimal funds through voracious reading of any good book I could get my hands on and, of course, trial and error.

One of the greatest moments of my life as an artist happened as I was leaving my parents’ Woodland Hills home for a painting workshop early one morning. A gentle spirit of a man in his 80’s, Max Turner, was walking with his cat prancing happily beside him as they did every morning. Surprisingly, he stopped this time to chat about my french easel (most strangers couldn’t name it). It turned out he lived three doors up, and he was an incredibly skilled sculptor and painter.

I was so grateful for this new friendship and spent years visiting him regularly. I would always show him my latest pieces which he very honestly criticized (so painful! yet so important for my process!). He was so generous with his time, sharing his extensive art related library and educating me on the world of representational fine art in a way money could never buy. His friendship and kindness continue to impact me as an artist. I married my beloved husband in 2008 whom I’ve known since we were young children.

We now have three children who keep us on our toes and, oddly enough, I do more art than ever before! I imagine it’s partly as a necessary release, and mostly out of joy. Haha.

Has it been a smooth road?
The road to reaching any level of skill is never smooth. It takes hard work, persistence, faith, joy, sorrow, frustration, you name it. If I were to narrow it down to one virtue that could help any artist continue on a smoother path, it would be patience. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve felt consumed by despair in the middle of trying to learn something and, to be perfectly raw, I’ve ended up very close to tears at about the halfway mark during many of my paintings.

Frustration can be overwhelming. My experiences have now made me capable of saying the words “I will get through this” when I reach an obstacle – and that alone is a success. It’s those artists who keep moving forward through tough times and tough emotions in art and life who will enjoy the future’s rewards.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
I am a representational fine artist. My favorite mediums are charcoal and oil paint. I do use abstraction in my preliminary, compositional sketches, and then I tend to work it toward realism in the final work. Though I love doing commissioned art pieces such as portraits of people and pets, the simultaneous stillness and movement in an artwork depicting dance is what intrigues me most, artistically. I feel a need to capture dancers with my art, because they, too, deserve long-lasting appreciation and respect for the hard work and beauty they put into their art form. I see it as a portrait of a dancer’s essence, not exactly a perfect copy of their photo.

My current theme has been along the lines of the traditional Spanish Flamenco and Mexican Ballet Folklorico dances. There’s something in the way they move, the emotion they draw, and the flowing lines they make with their dresses as extensions of themselves that mesmerizes me. It’s no surprise, I’m sure, that I have a special love for Spanish and Mexican/Mission style architecture and decor as well. I see this theme of my artwork being perfectly suited for such places.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Our beloved Los Angeles area is definitely a good place for an artist just starting out.

There are still many different types of galleries and art shows all over, and simple searches in addition to social media makes it easy to find the right one(s) for an artist’s special type of work. In general, I’d love to see more businesses using local artists’ works as their decor and encouraging others to cultivate a new or renewed appreciation for the intrinsic value in it. It may take a little more time to find the right art for one’s space, but I can guarantee it’s out there, and, sadly, the cost is often less than the average large reproduction at a big business!

Also, there are many people who are skeptical of their own taste in art, especially in a big city like L.A., so there’s a certain level of comfort in buying from a catalog or a typical, big store. I say, go for the art with value in itself, and pick something that really speaks to you, reflects the style of yourself/family/home/business, or art you simply enjoy resting your eyes on here and there. That’s ok, too. Either way, you’ll feel good about your choice.

Pricing:

  • Pricerange: $400-$5,500

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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