Born in Calgary, Canada, in 1949, Hank Bull was raised in Ontario and Nova Scotia and has resided in Vancouver since 1973. He took up painting and music at an early age. After travels in Europe in 1968, he studied at the New School of Art, Toronto, under Robert Markle, Nobuo Kubota, Ken Lywood, Gordon Raynor and Dennis Burton.
In 1973 he moved to Vancouver to join the Western Front, one of Canada’s first artist-run centres, where he became involved in performance, video, radio and telecommunications art. He and Patrick Ready, working together as “HP”, founded the HP Radio Show in 1976, “scientifically designed to help you prepare, eat and digest your dinner.” This weekly broadcast continued until 1984. The two worked with Kate Craig, Martin Bartlett and others on “shadow plays” that combined film and live electronic music with puppets and performance.
He was one of a global network of artists who produced collective works using distance transmission of video and text between 1978 and 1986.
In 1980-81 he made an extended trip around the world with Kate Craig, meeting artists in Japan, Indonesia, India, Cameroon, Yugoslavia and France. In the wake of this experience, he co-founded, with Robert Filliou, the Afro-Asiatic Combine, “to research the influence of African and Asian thought on Western culture.”
Hank Bull has produced collaborative works with Rebecca Belmore, Glenn Lewis, Eric Metcalfe, Muntadas, Tetsuo Kogawa, Jan Swidzinski and many others. His work is represented in the collections of the National Gallery of Canada and the New York Museum of Modern Art, and was included in the Venice Biennale 1986 and Dokumenta 1987.
He was a co-founder of the Vancouver International Centre for Contemporary Asian Art (Centre A) in 1999, where he was executive director until 2010, producing over 80 original exhibition projects by Canadian and international artists.