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Vale Graham Bond - Byron Life Drawing Studio
Posted by Byron Movement on 2012-04-23 15:39:06.0

No doubt many people travelling between Byron Bay and Lennox Head will have noticed the Byron Life Drawing Studio sign beside the Coast Road. This is the realm of Graham and Clare Bond who have been running the local life drawing group from the site since 1992. Sadly Graham passed away a few weeks ago, aged 89, and his passing is a huge loss to the artistic community of the Shire. Born Leslie Graham Bond in England in 1922, Graham had a difficult early background. He emigrated to Australia by himself at the age of 16. As a self-made man, he was an entrepreneur that gained experience in a wide range of professions. Graham served as a Merchant Navy Wireless Officer for nine years, including service in World War 2. He was a qualified gemmologist and worked as an opal miner for a time. He was also involved in fi lm production in his years in South Australia and was a pioneer in early TV transmission. Graham built up a successful business in clothes wholesaling in South Australia. He was interested in politics, the share market, coin collecting, and he enjoyed many aspects of art besides drawing, including printmaking and etching techniques. He was a keen observer of birds, animals, and nature; and had practical skills in farming and building. In 1992, Graham and Clare, who had already been running the local life drawing group at the old Byron Bay community centre and the Mullumbimby Scout hall before that, built the beautiful and spacious art studio on its current site. Graham believed that it was important to learn and practise the basics in art – drawing from direct observations. He often referred to the Julian Ashton Art School approach to art: ‘Teach them to see. To see the beauty of the form, the tone and the colour of the world around them and represent it on paper and canvas’. Graham and Clare encouraged everybody and newcomers in particular. Graham and Clare enjoyed socialising; they also encouraged the social aspect, where people of all backgrounds could talk and share their work – an important part of any art session. A glance at the visitors’ book in Graham’s studio tells a story of many people, including established artists such as Ken Done, who worked on improving their drawing skills, and were also able to share their experiences and skills. Graham kept his studio functioning right up until his hospitalisation in February. Graham will be greatly missed by his family and many others, and his contribution to the art community will not be forgotten.

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