Robert Gutteridge entered DRAW 16 as a non-member. He was awarded the Highly Commended Work in Monochrome prize, sponsored by Stabilo International. The work was sent from Australia and is a fantastic testament to the global reach the UK’s only society dedicated to drawing now has.
I have been drawing for as long as I can remember. I told my parents when I was 5 years old I was going to be an artist. That was in West Bromwich where I was born. I came to live in Australia in 1965 with my family when I was 10.
I am now 62 and have never waivered in my love of drawing and painting. I have drawn and painted constantly since entering my first art school in 1972. In 2009 I made a drawing a day for a year and held an exhibition of the 365 works titled “The small works of a year”. This is normal activity for me. It is an obsession. I go to sleep thinking about it and I wake up thinking about it.
In my practice, drawing and painting have equal status. Consequently the drawing [‘It Was Like This’] is a finished artwork, in that all the relationships are considered and brought to a state of completion and resolution. The drawing is carefully, lovingly, crafted and composed. The synergy between imagery, medium, process, and technique is managed to create what you see.
On the other hand the drawing could be instrumental: it may serve as the cartoon for a painting.
It is part of a series that takes a renewed interest in classicism but situates it within a personal history and therefore a contemporary context. The unfolding theme is the accommodation of the everyday within the mythic.
I spent the first 10 years after leaving art school making abstract works and life drawings. During that time my work came from within, or from ambient cues in the environment such as the seasons, the weather, times of day, geography or personal feelings and places I lived in. Since about the mid 1980’s I returned to the visual world for nourishment. This led to a closer engagement with nature, particularly the human figure and the western tradition of figurative art. I am currently deeply engaged with contemporary approaches to figurative realism in painting and drawing the human figure, informed by anatomy and classicism. In 2016 I opened the Rob Gutteridge School of Classical Realism (RGCR) in Adelaide, South Australia, Australia, where I live, to teach these approaches to drawing and painting the human figure. I am its Director and teacher. It is an atelier school basing its curriculum on the training methods of late 19th Century French academies. I will teach an anatomy sculpture intensive (écorché) at my school in January 2017. I am the only person in Australia who teaches classical écorché. I am completely self-taught in anatomy, and my school is the only school in Australia teaching dedicated anatomy subjects for artists. It is probably no surprise to find my first “job” when I left art school was working as a scientific illustrator for the South Australian Museum of Natural History.
I keep several sketchbooks. I keep anatomy sketchbooks and sketchbooks to record ideas.
I feel surprised and delighted to have won this award. It means a great deal to me to be recognized by my peers. As I do not live in the UK, or know anyone from the SGFA, it is all the more significant in that it means the work succeeded on its own merits. It means a great deal to my students, as they know someone whose work is recognized internationally is teaching them. And it endorses my position as the Director of an art school with international standards. For me personally it reminds me that I am on the right track, and that my work has spoken for me when I cannot be there.
Below are some progress pictures from a drawing Rob has been working on for 36 hours, he estimates it will take 80 hours to complete. Each day he draws for six hours.