Wow What a Surprise!

Wow what a surprise. After a deadly frustrating day I just happened to type in a search for the old art school with not the slightest expectation of a result when that front door took me back a lifetime.

I was a student when John Cole was principal, and Freeth was in charge of painting. I had transferred from Sidcup A/S and entered into a magical world. I went on to the RCA with others of my year. Trevor Preston, Clive Miller, Mike Sutton and the others. I have lost touch with all of the people except Judy Potter who turned up in Western Australia when I was working at Curtin Uni.

The school was for me the most important thing in my life, and the way that Cole and his staff interpreted art education was totally unique. What I learned there has given me the opportunity to have a most fantastic life.

I still paint and make prints although my prints are mostly made on a computer today. This is because I live on a large sailing catamaran and the etching press was too heavy. Plus it competed for space with Carol’s looms.

I am sorry that the style of art teaching is no longer the way of the uni styled art institutions, a sign of progress perhaps, but those cold grubby limited huts that were the old school, the discussions we had in the baths cafe, the Beckenham Art School Asphalt Co band gave me a fantastic edge in seeing and thinking that I find missing in the glory hunting colleges that have replaced the old schools.

Sorry about this missal, but it serves you right for putting the old doorway on view.

John Witcombe


John Witcombe on Moonshadow
Australia