John Drawbridge

From an early age it was clear that John Drawbridge was to make an indelible and significant mark on the New Zealand art scene. His knowledge of art theory and technique was vast, as many a fortunate student would attest to. His sense of aesthetic combined with his technical ability, (being both traditional and cutting edge, depending on the project at hand), enabled him to create a body of work more challenging, exciting and varied than any of his contemporaries. He cannot be categorised as just an oil and watercolour painter, printmaker, muralist, stained glass or textile creator, as he is all of these things. In 1957 Drawbridge was awarded a National Art Gallery Travelling Scholarship to study at London’s Central School of Arts and Crafts (graduating in 1960 with a Diploma with Distinction). After marrying Tanya Ashken, also in 1960, they went to Paris for one year, benefiting from an additional 4th year to the Travelling Scholarship, where Drawbridge continued printmaking. This time with S. W. Hayter and Johnny Friedlander. After successful shows in early 1960s London, most notably at the Redfern Gallery in 1963, Drawbridge and Ashken returned to New Zealand.