Owen John Oliver was,by all accounts, an exceptional artist. He was accepted by the prestigious Slade Art School in London , but they had no grants. They suggested Northampton College of Art where he got tuition grant on a 4 year NDD course. This qualified him to teach art, but he preferred the open road.
Travelling on his three wheel trike with a tent, he tried to earn a living as a painter in Paris ,in Cornwall ( for three years) , along the south coast and Kent during 1951- about 1957.
I think he signed his work OJO , or possibly John Oliver, and I believe he painted in Oils , watercolour and did sketches . His subjects were Pubs , landscape , boats , and people working . A pub crawl round Cornwall seems the most likely way to find his work!
He stopped painting around 1957 because the local newspaper photographer in Rochster was trying to get photos of him painting. It seemed to John they were more interested in his ‘disability’ than in his ability as an artist. He generally was shy of having his photo taken and one day , so the story goes , he lost his temper with a Photographer and threw all his art materials into the river. He never painted again.
Its a brief span of active work but his paintings must be out there somewhere! I’m offering a £50 reward to anyone who provides information which leads to an image of his work in the book .
I have contacted all Art Galleries in Cornwall , and the Artists Magazine A-N for help .
John’ s friends , the artists Mags Loxton and Andrew Kennedy have generously given their images to the book about him.
To have his own work there would be the cherry on the cake !
If you see an original painting anywhere , but maybe in a Pub, look at the signature, and you may be the lucky one to find it !
Thanks for reading this blog . Do comment and add your stories about Joliver . Bye for now ….. Frances