We had the good fortune of connecting with Bunnie Reiss and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Bunnie, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
I’ve always laughed at the idea of a calculated risk, as if this is some type of concept you could put an actual number or math equation to. Risk is a state of mind, a dive into a cold swimming pool, a drive on a dark highway with no directions, a chance to roll the dice and see what tomorrow brings. My ideas have always come from living life to the fullest, despite the ‘obstacles’ we create to distract us, and this type of sentiment involves a lot of risk taking. Fear is a strange state of mind that can be crippling if you let it set in for too long. I’ve found that trying new things, keeping a positive mindset, following your intuition and being honest with yourself and others can lead to a super fun life.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am mostly known for my murals and larger public art installations, but I have always had a very dedicated, quiet and personal studio practice. In my heart, I am deeply committed to the formal nature of painting. I love pigment and color, and studying the alchemy that makes magic on canvas, paper, wood, etc. I also tend to express painting through my quilting, but this is a more private practice for me, and one that I often do not share with the public. I collect fabric from all over, different continents, old clothes from dear friends, scraps of special things that have fallen apart, and I delicately arrange them to make homages to memories and time. I look at all of my art as a collection of time and space, history (both real and make-believe), conversations, other dimensions and a deep honoring of my eastern european heritage. I have found that the more honesty I put into my work, the more understanding I have in the larger world. I believe joy is a right, not a privilege, and can be one of the more difficult things to cultivate in a lifetime. I wish everyday that I could speak to the animals and the trees.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
-Museum of Jurassic Technology -A bike ride at night -The abandoned zoo at Griffith Park -Surfing in Ventura -Late night food at Canters -Flaming margaritas El Compadre -4am visit to Pacific Dining Car for linen table cloths and french fries
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I have been very lucky to be surrounded by a warm and generous group of artists, mentors and friends who have helped me to achieve many of my larger ideas, and supported me in the process of becoming who I am as a woman and an artist. There are many people I could list, but recently my friend and mentor Melissa Barron (@crone_of_arc) has been instrumental in keeping me calm, talking with me (sometimes daily) and just being a patient listener as we watched the world changing in a way neither of us could have ever imagined. Melissa has supported and encouraged many of my ideas over the last decade, and I would absolutely not be who I am without her guidance and advice. She is a spectacular creative problem solver, with so much experience in public art and community, and always so generous with advice. I appreciate her everyday and feel lucky to have her in my life.