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Dave Pearson
(1937 — 2008)

Dave Pearson was a British painter. Born in Clapton, London in 1937, Pearson first began his artistic education at the Saint Martin’s School of Art in 1955 before enrolling at the Royal Academy Schools. The artist participated in the influential Young Contemporaries exhibition of 1959 in London. His first solo exhibition was held at the New Art Centre in 1961, which showcased distinctive painted and drawn representations of astronauts. Much of the artist’s work in the earlier stages of his career focused on observations of the artist’s native East London as well as depictions of events surrounding the popular ‘space race’ in a notably dark colour palette.


In the mid-1960s Pearson’s work took on a much bolder, colourful nature. The artist began experimenting with different mediums, such as collages, tableaux and even inflatable installations, alongside his continued interest in painting and drawing. Far removed from the subdued, sketch-like output of his early career, Pearson’s work during this time was marked by the frequent use of stark, rich blues and yellows. In 1972 the artist largely abandoned his focus on bright, colourful mixed media work and concentrated instead on an illustrative series of 284 paintings and drawings based on the biblical Book of Revelation. Further series of painted illustrations followed in the mid-1970s, and from 1980 onwards Pearson focused on personal works such as self-portraits and autobiographical paintings.


Throughout the 1990s Pearson again turned to illustration, working on a vast series of large-scale paintings based on the W.B. Yeats poem ‘Sailing to Byzantium’. Throughout his long and ambitious career Pearson exhibited widely throughout England, most notably in Liverpool, Birmingham, Chester and London. Though he experienced considerable success throughout his professional career as an artist, Pearson served as an artistic educator for very many years. In 1963 he first began teaching at the Preston School of Art, and later taught at the Manchester School of Art from 1964 where he remained until 2002. The artist died in 2008.