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Ron Sims: Education

Reflections

Painting by Ron of Mickey Mouse

In reflecting on his time as an art student, Ron feels that the then two-year Foundation course (similar to the A-level courses of today) that he took at Colchester was an excellent grounding.

"Each week we had two days life drawing, two days painting imaginative compositions/designs, and one day each on a rota basis of: pottery/ceramics, sculpture, printmaking, collage and photography. The outdoor observation projects encouraged us respond to only what you feel about what is in front of you."

Following this two-year programme Ron embarked on Colchester's National Diploma in Design (NDD) course.

"During this 2-year course I undertook lots of personal research and benefited from one-to-one crits with tutors and illustrious visiting artists. I also undertook project commissions and learned a great deal about working with people and realising their creative ideas. This course was an excellent launch-pad for my post-grad courses."

Ron's one-year postgraduate course at Manchester College of Art introduced him to new opportunities for research within a city college as opposed to an art school in his local area. He embarked on more ambitious project commissions, and undertook his first Adult teaching in further education. He was involved from the early stages in talks to establish the Northern Young Contemporaries; and suggested that noted artist Peter Blake be invited to help launch the project. He used a gap-year in Manchester to complete commissions from a school and Russian Orthodox church.

In 1967 Ron began a 3-year postgraduate course at the Royal Academy Schools in London; one of the earliest established and most notable of art schools.

"This gave me a chance to really focus (we only did life-drawing for first 3 months of the course); and then find a space and develop own research. Again - crits from my personal tutor and a visiting staff of leading artists challenged and pushed my ideas. I took part in the RA School's long established Premiums exhibitions - selling work, including the first of my 'Head' images, from main galleries of Royal Academy."

As an RA student Ron was selected for the Younger Generation (Art Exhibitions Bureau at 6½ Suffolk Street, Pall Mall, London), and also London '69, sponsored by the GLC and shown at the Hayward Gallery.

"Our Finals Show was held in the RA Diploma Galleries; and here I was selected for the Fellowship at Cheltenham College of Art".

"My Fellowship year in Gloucestershire was a stimulating time. I was working in Stroud with a large studio (all to myself!) above the town museum. I taught on Foundation and Adult Education courses, and was also given the opportunity to be a tutor to 3rd year Diploma students (including Kevin Sinnott from Wales). The year ended with my solo show at Cheltenham College of Art."

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