This week it's all about Australian writer, calligrapher, artist and, as if that wasn't enough, Olympic cycle trainer, Graham McArthur. Oh yes, did I mention he plays the guitar a bit too and released three music CDs ?
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It's All About Graham McArthur
It’s all about My Father
I grew up surrounded by letters. Lettering was everywhere inside and outside the house. My father was a sign writer and calligrapher although he never used the label. He worked from home and there were large signs in the driveway and in the ‘shed’ where he spent most of his time. Small stuff was made inside wherever there was room. Works on paper, wood panels, scrolls, plaques, heraldry, photo mounts etc were stacked against the walls and on chairs and any available flat surface including the floor. The dinning room became his inside studio for 360 days of year (it only functioned as a dining room at Christmas). As a small pre-school boy this is the room I spent most of each day in.
I can not remember a time I did not draw. For obvious reasons most of my drawings contained letters. My father thought that if I was drawing letters, I should draw them correctly. From the age of five and before I learnt to read, he had me drawing Roman Capitals in pencil on a daily basis (up to about age 11-12). My love of letters has never lessened.
It was many, many years later that learnt to appreciate just how much he taught me and how skilled he really was. I still have a few leaves of gold leaf from those early years of learning to brush letter and gild on glass, wood and leather all before I learnt to read.
Unfortunately nothing has survived except 2-3 leaves of gold. I can only imagine how bad those early letters were, but the memories are what is important and much more precious than any physical reminders.
It’s All About Me
I left art school early to pursue a career in fine art. After an inaugural sell out exhibition I spent a few years painting portraits and landscapes. This drove me insane and so I turned to commercial illustration eventually working as an illustrator and typographer for a printing and publishing house during the early 1970’s. By the mid 70’s I was freelancing and have been freelancing ever since.
Three years ago I accepted a full time job offer and have pulled back from illustration somewhat. Today my interests and work is varied and broad. I still love letters and lettering, calligraphy and type design. These precious things will never leave me. I still love to draw and paint and have learnt late in life to appreciate abstract art and all its singular challenges. I now understand just how important my often tedious and repetitious classical training in drawing, painting and lettering is in creating a sound foundation from which one can have the freedom of choice in pursuit of experimentation and discovering the new. Without that training you have little to nothing from which to stand on or leave behind.
I made my first guitar in circa 1990 because I could afford to buy a good instrument. Its is a terrible instrument but it taught me much. Ten years after that my guitar workshop became my daughter’s bedroom and guitar making was transferred to the shed where it remains with an ever growing hunger to re-establish warmer and more pleasant surroundings befitting its stature and importance to my life. Of course I play terribly and one should always wear ear muffs when I am near an instrument.
Music is of course extremely important to me and is a big part in my daily life. A recently developed passion for electronic soundscapes and experimental music genres has almost become an obsession, well OK, I will admit it is an obsession.
Sorry can’t help it. My third CD was thrown at the world a few days ago.
When not following the above distractions I find a strange comfort it reading and writing. My fantasy novel ‘Mironmure’, which began life some 15-20 years ago is as stagnant as always, but not forgotten. I am still working on it - honest. The other novel is going much better and I am hopeful it will be finish with in the next 12 months. This time I have taken to crime with the aid of a rather socially inept and reclusive artist who has become very pissed off and annoyed at a certain individual who steals artworks and kills people. Can’t say any more on that.
I must not leave without mentioning the bike, its always about the bike. Cycling is in my blood and its a sport I love dearly. Three athletes I introduced to the sport and coached in their formative years are riding for Australia in the Olympics. I am very excited about that.
You can find out more about Graham at the following: