Hank Bull was born in 1949 in Moh’kins’tsis/Calgary and grew up in Toronto and small towns in southern Ontario. He became interested in art and music at an early age, mentored by a librarian, Graham Barnett, and encouraged by high school instructors Paavo Airola and David Blackwood. After travels in Europe in 1968, he studied drawing and photography in Toronto under Robert Markle and Nobuo Kuobota.
In 1973, he moved to xwməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam)/Vancouver to join the newly formed artist-run centre Western Front. In this interdisciplinary setting, he was exposed to mail art, poetry, ceramics, improvised music and video. He produced a weekly radio broadcast, cabaret performances, shadow theatre and telecommunications projects. During the 1980s he travelled in Asia, Africa and Europe, organized international exchanges and helped to develop a Canadian network of artist-run centres. He has worked in collaboration with a wide range of artists, including Kate Craig, Glenn Lewis, General Idea, Robert Filliou, William S. Burroughs, Kathy Acker, Michael Snow, Mona Hatoum, Antoni Muntadas, Steve Lacy, Tari Ito, Rebecca Belmore, Germaine Koh, Khan Lee, Cornelia Wyngaarden and many others.
He has filled a variety of roles as artist, curator, writer, organizer and administrator. Throughout his career, he has continued an individual practice of painting, music, photography, video, sound and sculpture. He lives at the Western Front and spends a fair amount of time in swiya, territory of shíshálh Nation, as a member of the Storm Bay Art and Conservation Society.
Representation: Stephen Bulger Gallery, Toronto