Being raised a bit too working-class to fully commit to making art, I have worked in other industries until finally returning to complete my study in Art in 2009.
With a mortgage and kids, and the need to earn my keep reliably, I have spent the last decade teaching art at secondary school - where if I can leave a fragment of the impression & inspiration with my students that Roy had on us; I'll know I’ve done well.
The itch to keep making Art is incessant though, and once again it is Roy, and this opportunity to show in this important exhibition that has got me making and creating again.
I draw, because I love the process of making, the feeling of the materials dragged in the surface, the line, the area that speaks for what is and isn’t there and in this case, rising above it all.
Fomison & Clairmont
Description: [Charcoal on Board]
Charcoal sketch based on a photo by Ans Westra. Wild, shaggy, shifty characters as introduced to my Sixth Form art class by Roy Dunningham.
Connection to Roy: I was a student at Havelock High and had the privilege of being taught by Roy in his last 2 years before his retirement in the mid 1990's.
I didn’t like school but Art never felt like a ‘subject’; Roy made art special, almost magical, like he had a spell-book of charms, cleverly disguised in school plan books and under code - names such as NZQA and Sixth Form Certificate, that he needed to impart on the youth, before it was too late.
There was an urgency, he took no shit, it wasn’t all fluffy clouds and fairy tales out there and Roy had the pictures to prove it. For me it was more Tolkien than Blyton, Goya, Dix, and Delacroix as opposed to what I saw as insipid Ingres and pretty but dull Degas.
Roy made Art important. It was essential. It was grimy, it was mean, it had teeth. For teenage me, ripping off my uniform as soon as I could and hauling on the Dr Marten boots, I had been given, taught, something I could believe in and somewhere to belong.
Life got in the way along the way, and it took me some time to find my path back to
creating and eventually to Teaching Art.
I remember seeing Roy at an exhibition opening and him, bright eyed, roaring with a hearty, full belly-laugh when I told him I’d become an Art Teacher, we scoffed teasingly about the types of folk that become teachers.
I hope he knew then, it was because of him.
Size / dimensions: 1000mm x 1200mm (approx)
Media Type: Drawing