ST PAULS CATHEDRAL.
When I was a boy, before my voice broke, I was in the choir at St Pauls. I like to drop that into conversations sometimes.
However, not St Pauls Cathedral, but St Pauls Church in Winchmore Hill, North London. I also went to St Pauls junior school next to the church. And that is where I passed the 11plus. That was possibly the highpoint of my conventional academic career.
Fast forward four years.
Unfortunately I was a little rebellious and I got myself expelled from grammar school, and into full time work aged 15. My first proper job was working for an advertising agency in the City of London. I was a ‘messenger boy’. That meant that I delivered copy and advertisement printing blocks to the headquarters of newspapers and magazines just round the corner in Fleet Street. Fleet Street is overlooked by St Pauls Cathedral from the top of Ludgate Hill, so I laboured in the shadow of St Paul once more.
My immediate boss in the agency was an inspiration. He was a graduate from art college, and seemed to be a perfect role model. At the same time, I was hounded by anxious parents who said that I must do evening classes to qualify at something. Reluctantly I read through the further education literature that was thrust upon me. A brochure from Hornsey Art College in North London was included. When I expressed interest my Dad said that if I could get a full time place then he would back me up financially. Bingo!
That is how I started a career in the art business. Hornsey Art College is also where I met fellow student and future wife Fran Slade.
Fast forward another fifty years or more.
By now I am a long-term full-time professional artist. I have a website with a portfolio of original paintings and self published prints. Including several showing the London skyline with St Pauls Cathedral as an iconic feature. One day I was approached by someone on the staff of St Pauls Cathedral who had Googled for ‘images showing St Pauls’ and found my artwork. Could they talk to me about commissioning a painting to be used on the St Pauls Cathedral Christmas card, they asked. You bet said I. That led to a meeting where I showed them my range of hand signed greetings cards and signed and numbered fine art prints.
So now I am a regular supplier of prints and greetings cards to the Shop at St Pauls Cathedral. They get thousands of international visitors every week. Some of them buy my work and distribute my art and details world-wide. St Paul has helped me go global. I wonder why?