Ackroyd, Norman (17 of 24).  National Life Stories: Artists' Lives

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  • Recording date

    2009-05-25, 2009-06-15, 2009-08-10, 2009-09-14, 2009-12-14, 2010-01-11, 2010-02-08, 2011-05-09, 2011-05-16, 2011-05-06

  • Recording locations

    Interviewee's studio, London

  • Interviewees

    Ackroyd, Norman, 1938- (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Courtney, Cathy, 1954- (speaker, female)

  • Abstract

    Part 17: [1:02:49] NA at RCA, compulsory classes early on in typography and lettering on Tuesday mornings, life drawing in afternoon; Bertrand Wolpe [Berthold Wolpe] for typography and Ardizzone for life drawing, details. Reactions to compulsory classes. Ardizzone; T.H. White The Godstone and the Blackymoor; Ardizzone illustrations; NA has visited some of the landscapes in the illustrations, details day on island, drawings and subsequent set of etchings On Black Sod Bay (c 1999, 2000). NA has been etching for 53 years. [16:22] Further details NA’s Intermediate and National Diploma courses at Leeds; etching, lithographs, painting. Details painting at Leeds College of Art, tutors. Tommy Watts. Advice to NA about intervals in images. Trevor Bell. Patrick Heron. Victor Pasmore, visiting Leeds from Newcastle where was Professor of Painting. Comparison Newcastle and Leeds approach to teaching art. When art schools stopped being independent, financial people determined decisions, withdrew funds from e.g. having a Chair of Panting; artists being bad at fighting. Roger de Grey, values of City & Guilds [of London Art School]. [26:40] Harry Thubron’s approach to art education. [29:30] Interruption, phone call from PA, seeking advice on cooking ox-tail stew. Further details Thubron’s approach to art education, to drawing; Picasso etching in one line; NA’s use of long drawing books. Further details Thubron, his legacy. Aspects that have been lost in more recent approaches to art education; emphasis on money, cost savings in teaching via computer. [41:42] Art schools thinking of themselves as businesses; NA external assessor at Slade, dependency on foreign students for fees. RA and City & Guilds rare in being independent of government; influence of Whitehall. Artists no longer run London art schools; disappointed that artists haven’t organised protests but agrees some rationalisation was needed; first hearing that London art schools were to be merged, positive changes that might have been achieved at this time. John McKenzie and NA. Staff ratio on Foundation at Central; space for students’ exhibitions. SA to art school in Newcastle, part of University; NA’s views re post-graduate fees, this situation the case for approx 15-20 years. Level at which art can’t be taught. Difficulty in advising young person wanting to go to art school; in 1975 or 80 would have advised American student to apply for London college that was right for their particular interests and abilities, no longer possible to do this; NA has now lost touch with the identities of the London schools; is on Board of City & Guilds, on Council of RA Schools, rarely goes to RCA. RCA printmaking moving to Battersea. Different characteristics of London art schools in 1970s. NA would go to graduation show at Central. Distinction Chelsea School of Art in 1970s, Camberwell College of Art, St Martin’s, Central; the colleges’ independence of one another, friendly rivalry.[55:21] NA’s awareness of abstract art when at Leeds, Terry Frost; images in books ; visits to London. Visits to Cork Street. Early paintings of Philip Sutton. Helen Lessore. John Lessore, etchings. Remembers first seeing work by Mark Tobey; Egon Schiele; Bret Whitely; influence of Peter Lanyon’s show. Found Bloomsbury work too decorative. Girl in same year at Leeds, daughter of road haulier, Archibald’s, students would get lifts to London. Degree to which would talk to tutors and fellow students about things seen in London. Art history lectures at Leeds. Friendship Tony Hodgeson, John Horely. Sport for Grammar School Old Boys. Materials used when painting at Leeds College of Art.

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