What role do tutors play in the artist's life?

Posted by Richard Colson on July 25th, 2023

My tutors

Sam Fisher in his Old Street Studio Sam Fisher in his Old Street Studio 2020

A teacher is key for an artist. This is not necessarily because their work is in any way similar but more as a demonstration of how to live with the practice of art as a central focus. This is what I learnt from my tutors at Goldsmiths. Basil Beattie, Albert Irvin, Sam Fisher, Victor Newsome, Yehuda Safran and Elma Thubron

Basil Beattie in his Mitcham studio Basil Beattie RA in his Mitcham Studio 2014 As I moved on in my career away from college, I began to understand that while I had sought approval while studying, this approval from my tutors was no longer necessary for me. Their role changed. For some the personal connection and friendship began to take precedence over the pedagogoic role which had at first been so significant. For some this was a comfortable transition but for others there was a reticence to relinquish their mentoring position and a discomfort with the idea of a friendship between fellow artists.

These things are highly personal and fraught with problems arising from a fragility of self esteem due to lack of professional standing and status But aged 20, my mind was highly impressionable and I do not undrestinmate the impact my tutors had on my development. I am very grateful for the trouble they took and their willingness to share their knowledge as practicing artists

Victor Newsome with Suzette Colson, Ann Summers, Max, Conrad and Ivor Colson Victor Newsome with Suzette Colson, Ann Summers, Max, Conrad and Ivor Colson on Hampstead Heath, 1997 Victor  Newsomew, Hampstead Victor Newsome, Hampstead Heath 1997 Basil Beattie RA Basil Beattie with his 1987 painting Smallness Stirs at Monuments - Thamesside Studios, Woolwich 2023