Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Juliet Peter 1915 - 2010


When I was a young lad part of the education curriculum was provided by New Zealand School Journals which combined short stories, plays, poems and illustrations to help kids learn the fundamentals of reading.

Many New Zealand cartoonists have contributed artwork to the New Zealand School Journal including Dylan Horrocks, Trace Hodgson, Lorenzo Van Der Lingen, David Bromhead, Murray Ball, Tom Scott, Dick Frizzell, Conrad Freiboe, Rosemary Mcleod, Matthew Hunkin, Jared Lane, Mat Tait, Bob Kerr, Andrew Burdan, Tim Bollinger and very likely a few more.

I didn't know them by name as a child but do recall the particular appeal of journal illustrations by Murray Grimsdale and Juliet Peter. Their artistic styles were familiar to me from my budding interest in comics and cartoons. Grimsdale's work was colourful and cartoony, and Peter's all sleek black and white linework.

Juliet Peter on her early art education in an interview with Art New Zealand,

We were staying with an aunt and uncle who were still farming in Canterbury, and the aunt - a practical, wonderful person - said to me 'Now dear, what do you want to do?' I mumbled that I didn't know, and she said 'Well dear, you have talent. How would you like to go to the School of Arts in Christchurch?' I probably said that would be just too wonderful. Being a busy, knowledgeable, practical person, she went off to Christchurch and then there was a free, four-year place waiting for me at the School of Art. She found a place for me at a student hostel where someone had to withdraw owing to illness. In no time at all I was embroiled in working for a diploma in fine arts, and, well, that's the end of that part of the story

Juliet Peter's husband Roy Cowan was also a prolific illustrator of the New Zealand School Journal.

Fishink blog have biographical notes and a gallery of Peter's work including some of her ceramic pieces.

Read Art New Zealand's interview with Juliet Peter here.

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