Sir Quentin Blake is one of Britain’s greatest living artists, the man behind illustrations for iconic children’s authors such as Roald Dahl, Michael Morpurgo and David Walliams.
And now a three-month exhibition of his works – 100 in total – are to go on show here in Calderdale.
The Bulging Portfolio of Quentin Blake comes to The Artworks in Halifax through the efforts of Huddersfield artist John Ross, who was a student of Quentin Blake in the 1970s at the Royal School of Art.
“He was my tutor,” says John, who lives in Meltham, “I was a loud-mouthed arrogant, cock-sure student and he was a gentleman. I hadn’t spoken to him for about 40 years but I wrote and asked if he would like to have a show with us and he said yes. We’re absolutely thrilled.”
John is a director of the independent art school based in Shaw Lodge Mills, which also has its own 1830 art gallery. It has housed a number of exhibitions by John’s contemporaries from the RSA, including graphic artists Ralph Steadman, Russell Mills, Paul Slater and Phil Shaw.
The Quentin Blake show opens to the public on Sunday, April 2, following a private event over the weekend attended by the artist.
During the run of the exhibition the art school will be hosting a number of workshops for schools, colleges and members of the public. John explained: “Quentin is part of the Campaign for Drawing in this country and works in hospitals and schools. We’ve got school parties coming in to see the exhibition and we’ll be talking about the importance of drawing and art in schools, creativity and invention, and how important they are is for people’s careers and future.”
As well as original and printed work, the exhibition will feature rough sketches and books. It has been curated by Halifax-based artist Chris Mould, author and illustrator of the Something Wickedly Weird childrens’ book series.
Of the works, John says: “The big deal for me about the show is that he is probably the most famous artist living in Britain, if you think about the number of people who have read Roald Dahl books alone. His art is very accessible but also very powerful. It’s very strong stuff.”
The Artworks, which is a pioneer in the field of the role of art in mental health and wellbeing, is hosting a conference during the exhibition on the transformative effects of art, design and drawing – a topic that is supported by Sir Quentin. It is part of a year-long project From A Line To, celebrating drawing and its capacity to improve lives, funded by the Arts Council England.
The 1830 gallery is open Thursday to Sunday from noon until 3 pm. Entry to the exhibition is free. Find The Artworks near The Shay stadium in Halifax (when approaching Halifax town centre, turn right along Simmonds Lane leading to Shaw Lane, HX3 9ET).
Story by HILARIE STELFOX via Huddersfield Examiner