In the 1970s; inspired by the nature of a robust friend I picked up my redundant pencils and drew a giant elephant falling over while playing the bagpipes. Unperturbed I continued with the daft theme and produced five other drawings of animals.
From my four room slum, I’d visit the Swan Pub in West Wickham, LB. Bromley, where I’d memorize faces, return to my rooms and reproduce line drawings which I coloured. They were hung on the pub walls, which led to a variety of commissions.
From a garage studio I painted all manner of works for an exhibition in the Swan. My friends helped to set up a production line for reproducing and selling the cartoon animals. One friend reproduced the line drawings by courtesy of his college printer. I bought thin wood sheet which we cut to size and painted. Six of us worked into the night, gluing the prints to the boards, colouring the figures and highlighting them with white. Signed of course. Their sales provided the drinks money for the two week exhibition.
It was noticeable that people bought paintings of places they visited: Pubs, Churches and local areas and so encouraged I set out drawing the pubs and churches in West Wickham. There were more than I had anticipated and with the aid of a camera I completed the task, all bar one pub and produced 10 ink drawings.
Again my friend made plates and printed 100 of each drawing. These I framed (which is another science) and sold privately and in shops.
The economics of this was that I was forever trying to regain my framing costs but as an exercise in trying to make a living it was an adventure. I continued with the commissions and took up building to help pay the debts.
The Inspirational Elephant.
The Snake who Missed the Fly.
Giraffe gets the Ball.
Mick the Mailman.
Edinburgh Tattoo. John and his Partner; both from Scotland- Depiction; something to do with John playing football and his girlfriend, who flew with British Caledonian Airways.
Roger Does the Washing Up. Roger was a captain of a team and to ensure they had a full strip he washed the kit. Here he mixes it with the washing up, while his wife, as a flying waitress, lands on the table. They were good at breaking televisions.
Barmaid, No.. Milkmaid of the Year; Swan pub, West Wickham, group scene depicting too many things to recount.
Colin and Tony- Mephisto.
Brian Bell, photographer Letterhead, Hasselblad – tso.
Swan West Wickham. One of ten pen and ink drawings.