Graphics World 1980 'Zac Looks at Markers' Series

Graphics World 1980 'Zac Looks at Markers' Series


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Portrait of Harry Philips


I made an extensive series of works for Graphics World Magazine. It was important to demonstrate that commercial studio markers could be used to make fine art. I selected The tonal grey-tints from Magic Marker. The pens come in the form of a glass vile and the spirit-based ink makes a capillary connection to a square wool felt tip.

The technique in this portrait is essentially derived from painting, the marks shape the face like chisel cuts into wood. The linear pattern of the corduroy hat allows for a similar treatment to accentuate the plane of the peak and the curvature of the head band.

Harry Philips is renowned for his bronze and wax figures often commissioned by the Church. We became great friends when I lectured in Yorkshire and covered most topics in his green vintage Bentley permanently switched on to the third programme.

Together with his devoted wife Kay, four children and copious cats, the family life was never uneventful. Harry's youngest son Steve played the guitar brilliantly, travelling the country to perform in a pin stripe suit and cloth cap. His best friend was Mark Nopfler who repeatedly tried to persuade Steve to join Dire Straights. It was great to be part of the group's early life.

Finally, years later, Nopfler return from America to persuade Steve to form a new group together with a Leeds based line-up. They rehearsed to perfection and a new group called The Notting Hill Billies went on tour with great success. Steve looked the epitome of his father Harry but perhaps a touch more extrovert.

Steve eventually settled in his beloved Filingthorpe on the North Yorkshire coast about ninety miles north of Leeds. This was the home town of the renowned Victorian painter Atkinson Grimshaw. While restoring paintings for Leeds City Art Gallery and Temple Newsom Steve understudied Grimshaw's work. He produced a series of moonlit landscapes in the style of Grimshaw which are independently very fine indeed.

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