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Former baker proves he has a taste for fine art

A fine art student from Sandbach who swapped his job as a baker for university rose to the occasion when he entered his first design competition.

Chris Bunn’s winning entry has been selected to decorate a community space in Liverpool but he is donating his prize of £100 in gift vouchers to Sandbach Art Rooms so the community in his home town will benefit.

The competition was organised by a group in the Clubmoor district of Liverpool which wanted to transform the area around its community hub.

Called My Clubmoor, the group launched an art competition so that winning designs would be used to brighten up the local streets

Thirty-five-year-old Mr Bunn, who in September will start the second year of his fine art degree course at the University of Chester, was named one of three winners and his design will be transferred onto the shutters on the local shops adjacent to Clubmoor’s community hub.

He said: “It was a random competition I found out about through university. I’ve never won anything before so I was pretty lucky really.”

His winning design was based on the words “coming together”.

Mr Bunn explained: “I painted the words by hand, which gave the work a personal feel, and I have kept the design simple by playing with the positioning of the word ‘community’ and seeing what it can represent. Sometimes words can be taken for granted without actually seeing what they are made up from.”

On donating his prize to somewhere much closer to home, he said: “As I live in Sandbach and have some of my artwork in the local Sandbach Art Rooms in town, I have donated my winning prize of vouchers to there with the request that the vouchers are used to buy materials for the classes.”

The Art Rooms charity supports local artists to sell their work. It also runs classes by qualified teachers that cater for all ages and abilities. Classes include gentle art for wellbeing, painting with acrylics, machine sewing and junior art.

Mr Bunn, whose wife Angela is a volunteer at the Art Rooms, added: “My thoughts were that I have been lucky enough to help a good organisation, My Clubmoor in Liverpool and I would like to pass on their generosity to where I live.

“The competition was all about community and I thought it would be good to pass the vouchers to my community of Sandbach.

“From what I remember there was nothing like that in Sandbach when I was growing up. That’s why I think it resonates with me. I’ve also got a couple of pieces of work in the Art Rooms for sale, but it’s also good to see other people’s work on display there as well.”

Mr Bunn gave up his job as a baker at Chatwins in Nantwich to pursue his love of art.
He joked: “I think I only got the job of baker because of my name!”

Mr Bunn, who had once been a train driver, also packed in his hobbies of fishing and golf to concentrate on painting. “I had done all these jobs but nothing seemed to fit. They were not as creative as I wanted to be. I wanted to find a way of expressing myself and get a buzz from doing it.”

While he was a baker, Mr Bunn would work on his oil paintings at night and uploaded his portfolio to social media, which supported his application for the degree at Chester.

“At university I am surrounded by creative people. I just want more people to see my work and get into the creative industry somehow,” he said.

The father of one, who likes to paint landscapes, focusing on scenes with water, added: “It’s all about expression and interpretation and being open-minded. People will either like it or they won’t.”

Mr Bunn said: “My plans for the future are to keep getting that buzz from painting and I would also like to be able to do what I love as a job in the future.

“I’m really enjoying my time at the university and the best thing is that I get to speak with like-minded, creative people who can help me with my own development as an artist.”

Bernadine Murray, associate professor and head of art and design at the University of Chester, said: “This is a fantastic project and having one of our students be part of this community initiative chimes perfectly with the University of Chester’s mission to develop students who take pride in helping shape society and have a positive impact people’s lives, which is something that art and design have the power to do.”

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