To Come: Balcony Gallery @ Studio18

On December the 3rd, the Balcony Gallery at Studio18 will be showing Kevin Sinnott’s drawings from the Post Office Years (1975 – 1980). Kevin says,

“After graduating from the Royal College of Art in ’74 my immediate focus was on getting a studio and continuing to paint with the same degree of commitment as I had reached in ‘The College’.

A contemporary of mine had suggested the idea of a postman which would give him acres of time in the afternoons for his painting. He went off to teach however, and I had an interview at the nearest sorting office.

Well, I thought six months is all it would take to establish myself as a professional artist. Five years later……………

Though the years as a postman were often frustrating, not least because of the anti-social hours (rising at 4:30 six mornings) they were nevertheless my most creative. I always managed to keep a studio outside our home, for a while in Stepney Green and then later in Berry Street, Clarkenwell. A typical working day after the very early start in the Post Office would be home by 12:30, sometimes take a nap before catching a train or driving to the East End, arriving as late as 4:00 pm. Often there would be no one in the adjacent studios, as these artist would have had to fit their studio hours into another schedule. I never worked longer than 4 hours, and I still regard such an uninterrupted session as more than sufficient. By about eight in the evening a small group of artists would gather in the Sutton Arms on Berry Street. I would try and get home by 10:30 and quickly into bed. I squandered so much.

During these 5 years my paintings developed along what I call my modernist phase, drawing off influences from Picasso and Matisse, but sufficiently personal for me not to be too concerned with derivation. It had been 5 years since I graduated. The painter and art historian John Golding, who along with Peter de Francia were my tutors at the RCA, visited the studio in Berry Street. John was impressed enough to do what he could to get me an exhibition. In 1980 I had my first significant exhibition in London at Jenny Stein’s ‘House Gallery’ on Regents Park Road.

Jenny had made her mark on the London art world when she was acting director of the Whitechapel Gallery in the East End. That was the 60s and 70s. She gave a lot of young artists their first break with a London show. By the end of the seventies she had moved on, turning over the ground floor of her large town house in Primrose Hill into a gallery.

These 26 drawings were not in that show, only having emerged recently from my drawing books from that time to be framed. I would have worked on them at home on the many occasions that I was too tired to get to the studio.”

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