Bruce Munro is a lighting designer and installation artist. Born in Salcombe, Devon he studied fine art at Bristol Polytechnic. Working with a small team of lighting designers at his studio he creates architectural lighting schemes for private residences, hotels, restaurants and other commercial spaces. These schemes have often resulted in spectacular feature lights such as contemporary chandeliers, wall lights or sculptures these being designed by Bruce Munro himself to complement the scheme. That aside it is his large scale art installations which have captured the imagination of people globally.
1. What would you say is the most important theme in your work?
The theme that inspires me came late in life. Just after my father died I decided that I had just enough experience to have a go at my own work. I was forty three. I decided to focus on moments of clarity where I had felt at one with the world. I am not an old hippy, but I am a romantic. Luckily most experiences of my life have been noted in my sketch books in one form or another. My work is based on /inspired by this material. I try to recreate something that conjures up the joy I felt. There’s no set pattern other than this.
2. What’s most inspiring to your working process?
The whole journey is inspiring. The inspiration, developing the idea, realising the idea and moving onto the next project. I really enjoy working with my team and love the feeling that it’s a shared experience. The sum of the whole for me is more important than the individual parts.
3. Have you any strange talents that influence the work you produce or the way you produce it?
I have a vivid imagination and always got in trouble for daydreaming at school. I have developed a way to consciously watch my subconscious, so when I see something of interest I catch it in my sketch book. I never thought in a million years that I could earn a living from my daft ideas!
4. Which artist of the past would you resurrect to collaborate with and why?
So many that I love. But Leonardo da Vinci because he had such diverse interests. Imagine what he could do today!
5. Do you think your work is understood or misinterpreted and why?
My work has no hidden meanings. It is what it is. The viewer does not need to know my life history or even the inspiration behind the piece. What I do is honest and from my heart. I am too old to hanker after fame or fortune, but I do want to make a positive change to people’s lives. Without sounding too saccharine, a lovely smile is ample reward for me.
6. If you could decorate one place in the world what would it be and how would you do it?
If decoration is another name for what I do then my next goal is to create the largest Field of Light installation at Uluru in central Australia. Depending on funding we aim to plant 250k stems of light. This is where the idea was inspired in 1992.
7. What to date has been your ‘cherry on the cake’ moment and what was it that got you there?
There have been a few but ‘Longwood‘ is my latest/best cherry on the cake moment. I believe a number of people at Longwood were aware of the Eden project installation, which had received great press coverage. Every artist dreams of being commissioned to make their art. One piece is great but sixteen was bonkers! I felt like a kid on Christmas day.
8. What we ask everyone! Does your artistic style influence your underwear?
I probably should wear an LED sequined Mankini, but my age, wife’s preference and personal comfort dictates my choice. Boringly I wear cotton boxer shorts… with no illuminated attachments!
More info www.brucemunro.co.uk
© photos supplied by; Mark Pickthall, Corriette Schoenaerts and William Hill