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The Smart Arsed Whizkid - a brief aside about money and the lack thereof.

Like most students I was usually short of cash and couldn't wait for a) the end of term and a trip home to eat proper food, b) the start of term to get my grant (those were the days) c) a birthday. As previously mentioned, at times of severe financial distress I would resort to selling a book or two but on a number of occasions I sold coursework. I exchanged a painting for two haircuts (Paul the barber in Salisbury Rd) another painting paid a week's rent at The Chateau. Common indicators that funds were running low were the length of time you could make a pint of beer last, painting over previous work, smoking cheaper and cheaper cigs (remember Sovereign!) making a liver stew that had to las

The Big City and The Smart Arsed Whizkid-The End of the First Year (Part 6)

My first year at Howard Gardens, Cardiff passed by extremely quickly and most of it has faded from memory. I did however, have the opportunity to experiment with different ways of making art and continued my life drawing classes with a vengeance. Painting was another matter, my natural inclination towards figurative work clashed with a new found interest in abstraction, particularly the American Abstract Expressionists. The resulting work was pretty unsatisfactory! By the end of the summer term I had to sell many of my beloved books in order to pay a retainer on the room I had at the time - a room I didn't actually return to in the autumn because by then one became available with friends in

The Big City and the 'Smart Arsed Whizkid' Part 5

Being a lad from the hills I found the nights particularly noisy when I moved down to Cardiff; that and the fact I was sleeping on the floor of a student house in Richmond Road for the first month or so. One of my best friends from home, Daf, who I'd known all through school, was in drama school and all the other residents were either drama or music students. The first week or so in college were given over to meeting the teaching staff and finding your way about the place prior to cordoning off your own little studio space on the third floor. The first project we were set involved being sent off to various locations fairly near to the college and recording them in the form of notes, sketches

Foundation Course at Art School - Art, Music and Reading. Part 4

I entered the Foundation course a little way into the autumn term of 1978. This was my first real encounter with some like-minded people who were convinced that they were going to be artists, designers or otherwise involved in the visual arts. I had the opportunity to learn new skills, including dominoes, darts, four card brag and the merits or otherwise of a variety of beers. When time allowed I also learned about painting, drawing, photography and art history, I don't recall any printmaking at this time. The art school was the old War Memorial Hospital in Wrexham, north east Wales and the studios, life drawing rooms and other teaching areas were once wards and consulting rooms; white and b

When the Art began to take over - From Smart Arsed Whizkid to Arty Farty Lefty. Part 3

After dropping out of A levels and being torn between the need for cash and following my artistic ambitions I went off in search of honest toil. This was the late 1970's and although there were jobs around, there were few that offered anything to satiate my need for art, music and literature; so another round of failed interviews for positions with few prospects of advancement loomed large. Encouraged I was accepted on to the foundation course at the local Art College. It was at this stage that I really began to learn about art, I have often tried to describe to students the feeling of exhilaration when I began 'really' drawing for the first time. The magic of the link between eye and pencil



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