Rebecca 'Bunny' Hinzman is a local artist we've been following for years. A recent graduate of Columbus State University, Hinzman continues to work as an artist developing her work, executing commissions and having international exhibitions.
Her new Movement Series has garnered tremendous attention this summer for its gripping attention to detail. Hinzman masters the technique of capturing movement on paper in a way unlike any other. The Columbusite recently visited with Hinzman in her studio to learn more about Hinzman's work, her process, and what inspired her to create her new Movement Series.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Photos of the artist's work courtesy of Bunny Hinzman.
All other photos by The Columbusite.
Q: What is this beautiful collection of work?
A: This series is called the Movement Series and my goal with it is to capture Alexey's movement and expression when you see him play.
Q: What does he play?
A: He plays classical piano and is from Russia. He is actually in Moscow this summer preparing for a really big competition in Norway.
Q: Is he a student in Columbus?
A: He just finished his artist's certificate from the Schwob School of Music and will now be working at CSU. It is really exciting.
Q: Where did you come up with the idea for the series?
A: I am approaching this in a similar way that I did my horse racing drawings. Those equestrian images are a huge inspiration for me. Capturing movement and expression inspires me. This series challenges me to do that with the human form instead of the horse.
I am very interested in the physicality of anatomy in motion. I love the idea of capturing the expression in movement. Merging our two expressions together, his being music and mine being visual art, has been very inspiring to me. Doing this series has been a way to share and learn about our two expressions together. It's been the most exciting part of the series because it's allowed me to learn so much. It's wonderful to be able to do this series with him.
Q: How did you arrive at the original concept for these drawings?
A: I've just been so inspired and motivated by him. It's not like anything you can describe- how he plays. Watching him, he is so expressive in the way he moves and plays. It's fascinating to me, so I'm sort of coming at it with the same mentality as I did the equestrian series. Focusing on movement, energy, expression and character.
Frankel - 2018 - Graphite & Charcoal - 24x18"
Q: Who else has inspired your work?
A: Art historically, I've been looking a lot at the work of David Bailey and Robert Longo. I find their ability to capture these elements of character and movement really captivating. That runs through all of my different series.
Q: When you're drawing, are you working from a photograph or a memory?
A: Sort of from both, and then a third element actually. I'm working mainly from a photograph to get the perspective and foreshortening and all of the technical elements of what it actually looks like. I've taken many photos for this. I pull expressions and familiar features from memory, certainly. How someone moves and keeping their character in mind is really important. But also, I use anatomy plates. They are a huge source for my art. I look at anatomy plates while I'm actually completing my drawings.
With the horse drawings in particular, I will draw it like an anatomy sketch. I will draw the horse without skin almost, and then I'll go in and add the skin - so to say. This is important to me because if you understand what's underneath, it's going to come through. We're not just skin and shapes, we're anatomy. Bones, muscle, tendons, veins, tissue, everything.
Q: Yes, true. It's amazing how clearly that is depicted in your work. Have you taken an anatomy course to understand all of this?
A: No, actually. I just have these and have studied them. I did look into taking an anatomy class, but it needed a few prerequisites I didn't have.
Q: (laughing) Well, clearly you didn't need the class anyway.
A: (laughing) Thank you so much. It has taken years of study to understand.
I am very interested in the physicality of anatomy in motion. I love the idea of capturing the expression in movement. Merging our two expressions together, his being music and mine being art, has been very inspiring to me.
Q: The transition I'm standing here seeing is incredible. The way that you've taken your study of the equestrian form and translated that into the human anatomy is amazing.
A: Thank you. The equine figure actually came first for me. It wasn't until I was a couple of semesters into school that I started to investigate the human body. The horses were my inspiration, and are still a huge inspiration now.
No. 1, from The Movement Series - 2018 - Graphite & Charcoal - 16x20"
Q: So is he playing in these images?
A: Yes. He is playing in these two images. I was interested in capturing his expression while he plays. This (above) is the first piece of the series. I didn't even have the series in mind when I began to draw it. I just wanted to capture his joyfulness and his hands while playing. The muscles are so interesting to look at. Pianists hands are so unique. They have to be. He's been practicing 6-8 hours a day, and he's playing Liszt and Grieg and Rachmaninov. It's really amazing to capture the physicality of what is happening when he plays.
"The Movement Series merges the creative expression of pen and piano, art and music into one harmony. The movement of the pianist, Alexey Trushechkin, as he plays becomes a metaphor for the intangible emotions expressed in music, similar to the power and ferocity captured in my detailed anatomical drawings of racehorses in mid-stride. Here I likewise sought to capture the intricacies of his precise movements through the precision of the drawing process, tracing the speed, delicacy and strength of his musical ability and suspending it in time, in art. The piano is omitted throughout the series to emphasize not only his unique character while performing, but show the man himself as the instrument of his own and, in my drawings, my own art forms."
Artist Statement for Movement Series - Bunny Hinzman
No. 3, from The Movement Series - 2018 - Graphite & Charcoal - 16x12"
Detail of No. 3, from The Movement Series - 2018 - Graphite & Charcoal - 16x12"
Q: I am amazed at the detail in these images. Especially the way you have captured his hair.
A: Thank you. It was a tremendous challenge for me because hair is so difficult. It is so tricky. There is no anatomy with hair, so conveying the movement found in it while someone is in motion can be incredibly challenging. It was also really interesting and fun.
I also really wanted to keep his hair in that image very light. It was important to me to keep it light to mimic the lines in the fabric on his shirt.
Q: It's very interesting to me how his shirt is laying. It's very unique to how he sits. The way you have captured how the body has moved the shirt is phenomenally interesting to me.
A: Thank you for noticing that. Capturing fabric in motion also really interests me. I have a huge interest in fashion, and my thesis was actually about Japanese fashion. It may not seem like fashion feeds into the art, but it really does.
Fashion is all about mastering the idea of space and how to use negative space. There is one idea that I particularly love which is called "MA" that means the space between the body and the fabric. It's a form of negative space, and keeping that in mind when I am making a composition is so important. There is such an emphasis in fashion as appreciating the fabric as a work of art in itself. Appreciating the details really feeds into my artistic expression.
Q: How long do each of these images take you to complete, Bunny?
A: Well, I get faster with each one. It's about two weeks now. I feel like each one is an improvement, but I look back at the previous pieces and can't really find anything to change. It blows my mind that each one can get better. It's encouraging because it means I'm still learning with each one.
It may not seem like fashion feeds into the art, but it really does. Fashion is all about mastering the idea of space and how to use negative space.
Q: You have chosen to leave the instrument out of these images. May I ask why?
A: Yes. I decided to leave the piano out of the image because the series is not about the piano at all. It's all about his expression as he plays. For example, having these hands here? It's actually the reflection on the piano. I felt that including his reflection was a really neat way to capture his expression. It's an interesting angle to see. Pianists are particularly athletic.
Alexey Trushechkin plays Debussy's "L` isle Joyeuse."
Дебюсси "Остров Радости"исп.Алексей Трушечкин
The first time I watched Alexey play, I watched him play in a competition on livestream. I put it on our big screen here at home. Within in minutes of watching, I was sweating. His performance was so physically intense. And on top of that, the pressure of remembering all of the notes for 50 minutes of complex music? The entire performance was incredible. I found it really, really inspiring.
Most of us don't really realize the physicality of playing the piano when we're just listening to a piece, but watch a performance and you immediately see how involved the entire body really is. Watching Alexey play reminded me how essential understanding anatomy is for my practice, and it's what led me to creating this series. ◼︎
More work from other series by Bunny Hinzman:
Reaching - 2017 - Graphite & Charcoal - 24x18"
Untitled - 2018 - Graphite & Charcoal - 16x16"
Cirrus des Aigles - 2015 - Graphite & Charcoal - 11x14" - Private Collection