Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Schoolboy art

I was born in East London in 1956 and started drawing while in primary school, copying the drawings of Edmund Caldwell and Stuart Tresilian in the South African classic, Jock of the Bushveld by Sir Percy Fitzpatrick, and Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Books respectively.

Sadly, none of my early efforts at drawing were kept.

The comics we had delivered by the Beacon Supply Stores to our home in Bonza Bay once a week – rolled up and dropped off by a black man on a bicycle – were also a key early influence. Lion and Tiger, as I recall, were the British comics which captured our youthful attention. So I also grew up relishing the draughtsmanship to be found in Roy of the Rovers, Olac the Gladiator and many others.

As I entered high school, and the full impact of the psychedelic art of the 1960s and 1970s was felt, I started exploring what I thought was real art, while at the same time learning more and more about the actual history of art from an elder brother, who did an art matric and went on – as I would do, too – to study for a fine art diploma at the East London Technical College art school under Jack Lugg.

Anyway, from my somewhat disconnected high school days, only one piece of art survives, and it’s not a gem. This, done when I was about 16, is it.

Do I detect some understanding of shading technique?

I would battle for years to come to master this aspect of the art.

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