The second of four children, Bull’s flair for art was first noticed when he won an art competition at the age of six. Other childhood art prizes were to follow, ...Read more...including several in his teenage years and a national art students painting prize while he was at college.
At the age of seven he was sent to boarding school in the North of England with his elder brother. The next four years provided a heady cocktail of experiences for an impressionable young mind. The windswept loneliness of the victorian school, along with the tough regime of a religious educational institution, contrasted with times of adventure at home in South America. Bull's home was a rambling white colonial house on brick pillars where a colony of fruit bats lived in the loft and emerged at six every evening, humming birds fed from flowering trees in the garden that was also home to the family’s menagerie of different pets including parrots, a kinkajou, and coatimundi. The fringes of the rainforest provided the young artist with a wonderland of sight and sound. It was a world of color and mystery, the cathedral like pillars of the forest trees and the swollen rivers adding a note of darkness and danger to the enchanted wilderness.
During Bull's teens the family moved to Hong Kong for several years. It was here that he first encountered the art of the East. The beauty of Chinese brushwork with its economy of line and energy of composition had a lasting influence on Bull. It was also here that he held his first one-man exhibition at the age of eighteen. The success of that and other subsequent shows was to lead Bull into a lifetime career in art.
While living in the East he continued his education in England at a boarding school in South London, which he enjoyed much more than his previous school. More significant though is the opportunity that being in London afforded him as he was able to familiarize himself with renowned art collections and attend a wide range of exhibitions. Many influences came together and shaped an inner vision of the world that was to influence Bull’s passion to create, not just an image, but an experience. Bull searched for something to heal and enrich, something that would make a difference.
While at art school he married Joanna, his childhood sweetheart. During the late seventies and early eighties the skills in printmaking that he acquired at art school, which had especially fascinated him, began to pay dividends. He sold his first three editions to Pallas Gallery in London and then entered a relationship with London Contemporary Art who sold out many of his meticulously worked multi-plate etching editions.
Throughout this period Bull painted the world around him. He trekked with his paints through the foothills of the Himalayas, toured the Mediterranean, and spent many weeks painting the mountains of the English Lake District where he and Joanna now live with their four children. However, as each year passed a deeper creative current seemed to pull at him, a sense of something more, of something waiting to be touched and expressed beyond the world of visible realities. Bull was moving away from painting outward things, his canvases began to be expressions of the inner world, the world of the heart and of the spirit where the real life of mankind is felt and lived.
The rich and vibrant style for which Bull has since become world famous began to find expression, to find a voice. It was not until his major one-man show at Harrods in London where seventy-six of his paintings were exhibited together, that the effect of this new work came home to him. Bull reflect, "I remember walking around the show listening to what people were saying. I began for the first time to understand what my paintings had become. The people were telling me! People were being transported, the colors and imagery were becoming a means of conveying the viewer into another world, the miracle was happening. People were being hit right in their emotional center."
In 1997, Bull received the accolade of being on the UK best-selling artist awards shortlist. Again in 2000 he was short listed for the awards, this time in two categories: best selling published artist overall and best selling original print artist. He won the Artist's Print Award for being the best selling artist in the UK of original hand finished prints. The prizewinners were chosen from a detailed poll of the fourteen hundred retail art galleries in the United Kingdom who are members of the Fine Art Trade Guild.
Bull's art has come a long way since he won the local cinemas’ Saturday Matinee coloring competition in 1964. However, the same passion to play with color and to create with radiant hues and harmonies that affect the senses remains with him still. Bull comments, "If I can touch a life. If through my painting I can show something previously unseen. If I can reveal something old in a new way, if I can enrich a soul on it’s journey into the eternal, then my painting, my living, has not been in vain."