The artist, Dudley Edwards, was born in 1944 in Halifax, West Yorkshire, and became a significant figure in the London art scene during the 1960s and beyond. His work over the years has included painting, graphic design and illustration, murals, textile design, photography, film direction, and ceramic arts.
Dudley completed an art foundation course at Halifax College before studying for a Diploma in Art & Design at Bradford College, School of Art (1961-64). He later worked as a part-time tutor at Bradford College (1974-78) and also lived in Bradford district until 1987. His association with Bradford College was an important factor in the development of his art career. He wrote:
I vividly remember the Art School … [it] had an amazing smell of paint and linseed oil soaked into the floorboards which gave it a lovely atmosphere. There was a kind of excitement in the air, partly a carry over from Hockney, who was then making a name for himself in the art world. It was the place to be. Frank Johnson, was the biggest influence on all of us and very inspirational. Unlike some lecturers who had hung up their brushes to teach, he was a practising artist who painted in front of us in the studio. Lots of the best art students did graphics because they didn’t have the necessary 5 ‘O’ Levels to do fine art. Myself, Doug Binder, John Loker, Norman Stevens, Michael Vaughan and David Oxtoby – we were all frustrated fine artists looking with envy into the fine art department. From being a student and my later experiences in teaching, I can say things were more anarchic in those days. In many ways work has suffered as a consequence of education becoming more prescriptive.”
After leaving Bradford School of Art, Dudley joined with former students to form the design collective, BEV: Binder, Edwards & Vaughan. Their colourful graphic designs, including on sports cars (see example above), furniture (including a piano owned by Paul McCartney), and street murals, tapped into the social mood of the 1960s and captured the attention of film and pop music celebrities, including The Beatles and Jimmy Hendrix.
BEV also produced original light shows, including ‘The Million Volt Light & Sound Rave’ 1967 at The Roundhouse, London, featuring the only known public presentation of the ‘Carnival Of Light’ sound collage created by Paul McCartney and John Lennon during recording sessions for their Sgt Pepper album.
Dudley worked closely with Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr during this period. He wrote:
I lived with Paul for six months during the recording of Sgt Pepper, officially to paint a mural on his wall but I didn’t actually get round to much painting. Jane Asher had gone to America for a theatre thing for six months and he wanted company. Every time I was about to start he would say ‘come to the studio…come to a nightclub.’ When Jane came back I was in the way, but Ringo, who was married and had Zak by this time, really did want a mural so I moved into his home in Weybridge for six months.
In 1967, after the members of the design collective went their own way, Dudley formed the OM tentacle partnership with Mike McInnerney, producing design work that spanned murals, psychedelic posters, book-covers, and record-covers for musicians, including Arthur Brown, Cat Stevens, The Soft Machine and Fats Domino.
When OM tentacle disbanded, Dudley went on to work independently, including film direction, teaching part-time at a range of art colleges in the UK as well as pursuing his own visual art interests, including painting, and the design of record and book jackets, magazines and posters.
In 1997 Dudley and his wife, Madeleine formed AMAZED, that has gained a following over the years for their designer rugs and wall hangings; see AMAZED ltd.
Dudley has been a guest speaker at a number of prestigious art institutions, including The Royal College of Art and Commonwealth Institute in London; National College of Art & Design, Dublin; universities in Australia; and at the NiA Institute, Delhi, India.
His work has been widely exhibited over the years, both in Britain and overseas including: the Arts Council touring exhibitions; the V&A Museum in London; Tate Gallery in Liverpool; Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt; the Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna; The Musee d’Histoire Contemporaine, Paris; and at the Whitney Museum of Art, New York.
In his home region of Yorkshire, Dudley’s work has been shown at the Bradford College Dye House Gallery; Dean Clough in Halifax; Redhouse Originals, Harrogate; and at the Yorkshire Craft Centre, where there was a major exhibition of his work in 2013 – On the cusp.
Dudley is an Associate Member of The Design Trust and Member of the Twentieth Century Society. He now lives in the Yorkshire Dales.
See also the Wikipedia entry for Dudley Edwards at Wikipedia
Limited signed edition prints of Dudley Edward’s work are sold at RedHouse Originals of Harrogate.
See also Dudley Edwards’s artist’s statement for this site at Dudley Edwards – My Art