sábado, 19 de abril de 2008

art school 1964 to 1968

I am yet another of those late developers that failed their 11 plus first time round and made some descisions that moulded my future. I was taken to Rookery Road Infants School on my 5th birthday by my mother but that was the last time she took me there, my brothers as usual got the job of taking their younger brother to school as well as the Sunday Methodist class and any time that they wanted to leave the house together. When I failed the 11 plus I went automatically into the Rookery Road Junior school which was litorally at the top of the playground, nearer to the Rookery Road (rua da colonia de gralhas)and with my struggle over English Language and Literature,History, Mathermatics etc I started to feel that I was in for a rough few years and no prospects of leaving with good qualifications. I guess to my credit I did try hard to make progress and was possibly aided by the sadistic nature of the technical drawing master, name of whom I thankfully have forgotten, whose joy and hability was to throw the chalk eraser at childrens heads if he felt their attention was not sufficient, also the means of chastising young pupils was to put two wooden rules together and hit the knuckles of the child,creating water blisters and difficulty writing in subsequent lessons. I recall that the school did give me my first girlfriend and lessons thereby in kissing girls as well as the memory of chewing natural liquorice, bought at the chemist. My elder brother, Graham, 12 years the older, went to Moseley road Art School when he was 13 years old and that left my mother with the impression that that was the normal intake age for the school. It had in fact been changed to 11 years in accordance with the rest of England, although that was about the only similarity to normal education that it gave. All I had ever wanted to do was paint and my father being an architect was even more of an incentive, so I asked my parents if I could take the entrance exam for Moseley Art School, it must have seemed a good idea for my parents as Graham had finished school there and gone to Birmingham College of Art then on to jobs ( one for the company Vono) designing furniture. My great- grandfather, grandfather and uncles had been in the trade of cabinet makers, going back before them the family had been ceramic painters as well as other trades so the blood line was promising and I was clearly going to work hard at succeeding in something that I loved.
Moseley was an amazingly good school for education but lacked amenities and also the time that I spent there I did not learn a second language, small price when the school taught us ART in a way that I still feel was superior to most art college education. I later went to Exeter College of Art and there the staff decided because of the quality of the teaching at moseley I should not bother with the foundation or first year at the college but do the course in two years, the second and third years only.
The photos here are of the art school and the library/swimming baths that where opposite, myself at 16 years old ( the same time that I used to stay on at school to do life class lesssons and have a drink with John Swift and Bob Ashby at the pub up the road, forgotten the name though) and Bob with his wife Joy, whom I remember as being both very good artists. I have recently found a web site for the art school and am trying to get in touch with staff and old school friends in order to give something of a true feeling of the times I had there, still I will write about some of my life there and later make additions.

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