We talk to Local Artist David Perks

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David studied graphic art at the National Art School, East Sydney, 1951-54. In 1959 he established his own graphic design studio in Sydney, employing six artists and acquiring many top clients, including Parke-Davis, Mirror Newspapers, Lido Ties and Marbletone.

In 1965 he was requested by Avon Products head office USA to design their first Australian-produced sales promotion material. He also supervised the photography and print quality of all their literature, operating his studio for a further six years, after which time he elected to make a career change.

Following an overseas tour with his wife and two children in 1971-72, visiting the great art galleries of Britain and Europe, he decided to pursue a full-time career in the field of fine arts. In 1972, his entry was selected to hang in the prestigious Wynne Landscape prize. His first one-man exhibition, with 40 paintings, was held in 1973 at the Robert Wardrop Gallery, Roseville, and sold out.

Since that time he has had many successful one-man shows in Sydney, Newcastle, Gosford, Wyong, Taree (3 times), Walkom Manning Traditional (twice), Great Lakes and Port Macquarie traditional art prizes, and Best Picture at the Wingham Art Show. He has also won awards at Sydney’s Royal Easter Show. He was a finalist in the National ACTA Maritime Art Award, which toured all of Australia – his picture of a Sydney ferry approaching Mosman Wharf winning the ‘National People’s Choice’ in the Mosman Art Prize in every state. He has also won the ‘people’s choice’ in the Mosman Art Prize and at Gloucester.

His paintings have been purchased by Gosford, Wyong and Greater Taree City Councils.

David’s works are represented in the Commonwealth Artbank, BHP, IBM, ALI, Newcastle Building Society, Skefco and Varley Engineering art collections, as well as many other corporate and private collections in Australia, USA and Japan. In 1993 he was commissioned by AMP to paint the Sydney Cove area for their retiring chairman. Both BHP and AWI Newcastle commissioned him to produce a group of in-plant paintings of their steel and cable-making processes.

In 1994 he was commissioned by the Royal Australian Navy to produce a painting of the Adelaide-class frigate, HMAS Newcastle, and later, HMAS Canberra, and then was requested by Australian Artist Magazine to prepare a feature article on the work procedures involved. It was published in the March 1995 issue.

With his wife, Bev, he moved from the Manning Valley to the NSW New England town of Guyra in November 2011, where he became entranced with the beautiful landscapes and “that special  New England light”. He began by donating a number of his previous paintings to the Guyra MPS, which are displayed on many walls around the hospital. He intends to continue painting New England where, he says, the inspirational subjects are endless.

The exhibition at Gallery 126 in Jessie Street, Armidale, is titled New England and Other Landscapes and features 22 paintings, 11 of which are New England subjects. There will also be paintings of Sydney Harbour and Middle Harbour, Blue Mountains, Coffs Harbour, Great Ocean Road, Mount Seaview and of a town in the Loire Valley, France.

This article was published in issue 69 of New England Focus

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