PEOPLE and PLACES
The Art of JOHN AUGUSTUS AVIS
JOHN AUGUSTUS AVIS was born in Surbiton, Surrey on August 19, 1931.
John studied at Camberwell School of Art and Crafts from 1947 to 1951, where he was tutored by the eminent artist and illustrator, John Minton, after which he was awarded a State Scholarship to study at The Slade School of Fine Art, under the legendary principal William Coldstream.
His contemporaries and friends at this time included Gordon Davies, Tom Espley,
Anthony Eyton, Patrick George, Geri Morgan, Patrick Symons, John Thompson,
and Ewan Uglow.
He was awarded the Slade's prestigious Henry Tonks Prize for Drawing in 1952, before graduating a year later with the University of London Diploma in Fine Art - Special Subject: Painting and Drawing.
After completing National Service for the (Army) Royal Signals in Germany in 1956, John worked in various part-time and temporary posts in (Arts and Crafts) Adult and Secondary Education, as well as a stint on the Sunday People newspaper, and Science Club Junior, drawing cartoon strips. He also illustrated a series of books on country life by Fred J. Speakman for Bell & Sons.
Marrying Susan in 1961, and seeing the arrival of the first baby a couple of years later, the security of a full-time position became a necessity. So, in 1964, John moved his family to Kumasi, Ghana, where he had been appointed Senior Lecturer in charge of Painting on the BA course at the University's Faculty of Art and Design.
Johanna is born in 1965.
After a rather turbulent and unstable three years (unrest on the political/government front in Ghana) the family moved back to England, where John became Foundation Lecturer at Ipswich School of Art.
Katey, the youngest of three children, arrives in 1969.
It wasn't long before John, with wife and children in tow, returned to Africa; this time becoming Head of School of Art & Design at the Evelyn Hone College in Lusaka, Zambia's capital city. The year was 1970.
1974 heralded another change of location and culture, with a move to South Yorkshire, this time becoming Head of Foundation Studies at the Faculty of Art & Design, Doncaster Institute of Higher Education.
Inevitably, London and home was to beckon again, and in 1979, John accepted the offer to become Head of Foundation & Diploma Studies, at Chelsea School of Art. He was to stay there for twelve years, during which time, he acted as Head of School when the position became vacant for a few months in 1986/87.
From 1991 until his retirement, John continued as a Verifier / Moderator (on up to 23 courses in nine centres), as well as consultancies in other Arts & Crafts / National Diploma / BTEC / NCVQ bodies and working groups, and external examining commitments.
John passed away just after midnight on February 26th 2015, finally succumbing to the quadruple alliance of Alzeimer's, Leukaemia, Parkinson's, and polymyagia. He is survived by Susan, Simon and Johanna - much missed Katey, having passed away less than a year before him in April 2014.
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