On Sunday 23 September at 2pm Rolf Harris will be at the Whitewall Gallery in Davygate York to unveil a collection of original paintings that are to be featured by the gallery. This event, according to Ryann Shear of the Whitewall Gallery organisation was fully booked almost as soon as the event was announced.
Rolf Harris is immensely popular in the United Kingdom due to Rolf’s original appearances on BBC Children’s Television in the 1950s as an artist and entertainer. In the 1960s he had a singing career essentially focussed on Australian songs. These alternative careers were the typical response of a starving artist supporting his first love: art. Rolf began his adult life as an artist and came to England, then the centre of the Australian universe to study Art. To many Rolf Harris is epitomised by his music, Tie Me Kangeroo Down Sport, Two Little Boys and maybe infamous for his digeridoo. None the less, in the mid-1950s, he had paintings exhibited in the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in two separate years: no mean feat.
Through meeting artist Hayward Veal, and his experiences on Children’s Television Rolf developed a style of extreme simplicity which shows through in his paintings today. Many remember his appearances on his own shows or as a talk show guest, that while chattering away to the audience, with a few deft strokes with a house painter’s brush he could conjure something out of nothing in one of those miniscule time slots that TV directors grudgingly give out.
At the turn of the century Rolf prepared for what became a hugely successful series, Rolf on Art, and working on this programme reinvigorated his interest in painting. He works quickly and his impressionist style along with an impressive history painting on camera with subjects that tell a story is truly a very popular British and Australian artist.
Two galleries in York carry work by Rolf Harris, the newly opened Whitewall Gallery and the Washington Green owned Castle Gallery near Coppergate.
The Rolf Harris paintings will be on exhibition at the Whitewall Gallery, 9 Davygate, York, YO1 8QR.