From my earliest years, everyone thought that I would become a painter. At 17 I applied to the two university fine art courses that existed at that time (Reading and Newcastle), and following entrance exams, interviews and a showing of my work, in 1963 I was accepted at the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne for its four year Fine Art degree course. Present at those interviews were the head of the program's Basic Course, Richard Hamilton, co-director Rita Donagh and head of the Fine Art department Kenneth Rowntree. Hamilton had recently taken over the running of the department's's revolutionary Basic Course training from Victor Pasmore.
Some fifty years later, I was contacted by the Tate Gallery in London to ask my permission to publish one of the drawings I had made during that first year at Newcastle. It had been found in Richard Hamilton's private collection and was an “imaginary life drawing”. The book entitled The London Art Schools, Reforming the Art Word 1960 to Now, Nigel Llewellyn, May 2016, was published in 2015; my drawing (sadly reduced greatly in size) is on page 55. Working with Hamilton gave me my first taste of what now could be called conceptual realism, he being known, despite his resistance to the term, as the father of British Pop Art. Other teachers from that period, besides Hamilton and Donagh, were Joe Tilson, Eduardo Paolozzi, Robert Medley, Terry Frost and David Hockney.
During my four years at Newcastle, I witnessed the intensive process of Hamilton's reconstruction of Marcel Duchamp's 1915 to 1923 “The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even", often called "The Large Glass", made for the Duchamp retrospective at the Tate Gallery in 1966. The original in Philadelphia had been damaged and therefore was impossible to move to London. I still own the table – put together by Roger Westwood – and the T-square which was used in creating the drawings for this project.
I graduated in 1967 with an Honors Fine Art degree in Painting. My high school art teacher, Kelvin Carter, immediately asked me to remount my final exhibition from Newcastle in the new art department building at Dover Grammar School. A chance meeting with James Fox led the actor from Joseph Losey's “The Servant” to buy four of my pieces, which I went to hang in his apartment in The Albany in Piccadilly. Sadly, most of the large constructions that I created for my final show at Newcastle were destroyed in the great hurricanethat swept across southern england in 1987. A big lime tree in my parent's garden was blown down; it crushed the old garage, as well as my father's car and all my paintings which had been stored under the roof.
Among my contemporaries at Newcastle were Mali Morris, Bryan Ferry, Murray Head, Alun Armstrong, Mark Lancaster, David Sweetman, Stephen Buckley and Roger Westwood.
Soon after graduation, I began to do set design for productions at the Martha Graham School at The Place in London. I designed and constructed sets for choreographer Barry Moreland, and then for the premiere of Peter Maxwell Davies's Eight Songs for a Mad King, created for its soloist and my teacher Roy Hart. The set consisted of several large bird cages which I built in the workshop at The Place. My studies with Roy Hart (begun in 1967) soon took over my time though I taught art at several secondary schools in London between 1967-1972. My last class at Haverstock Comprehensive School in Chalk Farm was with a remedial group with which I constructed immense kites. At the end of the term the whole class flew them from the top of Primrose Hill.
In my subsequent career as a director I always designed my productions.
For the past fifteen years, I have reestablished my painting studio, first in Jersey City, New Jersey, and then for the past seven years, in Athens, NY. My work has been exhibited in numerous shows in upstate New York..