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At first glance, Robert Bissellís art suggests the struggles and triumphs of animals through a narrative painting style reminiscent of illustrative childrenís books. But within Bissellís work lies a more profound message. Familiar animals from our collective childhood, including bears and rabbits, are purposefully set in magical yet realistic landscapes to disarm viewers and draw them in. Once inside Bissellís art, viewers discover that the quizzical, contemplative, menacing, or exultant animals actually represent us. Bissell then takes us on an unexpected journey, where in the end we realize that we are not separate from nature, but rather are part of it. Bissellís initially disarming style is just the first layer of his intent, beyond which his art poses challenging and essential questions of what we are. His message is that we are ultimately part of nature, something we may have forgotten.
Art that is rooted in and focuses on nature is a theme that reaches back to Bissellís childhood. Bissell, now living and working in London, grew up on a farm in the English countryside outside the small village of West Quantoxhead in Somerset, England.
These formative childhood experiences became an integral part of Bissellís world-view that have never left him. Bissell has consistently worked to connect nature with people through his art, starting in his early days as a photography student at the Manchester College of Art and later at the Royal College of Art in London. Nearly 18 years ago, after a career as a photographer, graphic designer and eventual corporate executive, Bissell decided to explore a new form of art that took him beyond the mediums of print and photography: he taught himself how to paint. Today, his repertoire of paintings includes more than 500 originals.
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