By Thalia Oosthuizen
Despite being just 27 years old, and having just received her MFA diploma from the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm, Bunny Rogers is set to join the big players in internationally acclaimed artists, with the weight of a solo exhibition at New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art. Since she graduated from Parsons School of Design in 2012, Bunny has created three works of art centered around the Columbine High School Massacre, where 15 people died, and 24 were injured.
Ever since Bunny was a teenager, the Internet has been a friend, allowing her to explore her artistic skills through a website called Neopets.com, where she could create and take care of her own virtual pet. As she was an outsider in high school, this was a source of comfort and refuge for her, where she could experiment with different parts of her personality, building confidence in her talents.
Participating in online communities opened a new world to Bunny, where she could come alive, and the realization that she would not always be invisible. A decade later, and she is now one of the most popular young artists. Roleplaying and storytelling have always been the focus of Bunny’s work, and when they are combined can be seen as a medley of her different personalities that are injected with spectacular imagination, culminating in breathtaking works.
Bunny’s work is tied together with the common themes of pre teen angst, friendship, and memories, and she uses multiple formats to express her message, including poetry, sculptures, websites, and full-scale installations. Some of her work involves digital processes, such as video, animation, and 3D modeling, and only exists online; some of her other works make reference to her online world but are handmade creations displayed in art galleries. Occasionally her works are displayed as a conglomeration of all formats, offering awe-inspiring realizations of Bunny’s imagination.
One of these incredible works is “Columbine Cafeteria.” She was only 9 years old when the massacre took place, however, when she started studying art at Parsons School of Design in 2008, she became interested in the psychology of the shooters, leading to an obsession where she thoroughly researched police records, forums, and crime scene pictures of the Columbine shooting.
Bunny created an artistic interpretation of the tragedy at Greenspon Gallery in New York, which included chairs that were identical to those found in the cafeteria at the crime scene, which she believes are vessels for dramatic events and limits of emotion. Regardless of being inanimate objects, Bunny believes that they carry a story through their experiences, and can carry a silent message.
In one of the rooms in the gallery, one can witness a video of one of Bunny’s cartoon avatars – Mandy from Clone High, an animated TV series – as it plays on a screen while fake snow falls from the ceiling in a dark room filled with ritual candles. Mandy can be seen playing songs on the piano by musician Elliott Smith, who was violently stabbed to death. This display is a memorial to Smith, who Bunny is obsessed with, stating that his music is the most relevant music to her life.
Bunny’s work is considered to be hauntingly beautiful, a vindication of emotions that are long held in by many. Her works are bound to continue to inspire, as she explores more of her psyche and expresses it to the world.