Ian Colverson

Acclaimed artist and printmaker, Ian Colverson, joined the Regional College of Art in 1969. After extended sabbaticals when he taught at the University of California, Los Angeles, he retired as MA Printmaking Course Tutor at Bradford College in 2005.

Ian ColversonAfter graduating from the Slade School of Fine Art in London in 1962, Ian won scholarships to study in Rome and then Paris. He then held various exhibitions of his work in London and Lisbon before coming to Bradford.

“My first connection with Bradford was through involvement in the acclaimed Print Biennale. Then in 1969 I received a phone call asking me to come up to discuss setting up a new printmaking department in Bradford. I was born in London and mistakenly thought they were talking about Birmingham, so I was astonished to find it was 200 miles away! But the job was such an exciting challenge I was delighted to accept.

I used to get the famous artist, Michael Rothenstein, to come up to Bradford to do a few days’ teaching now and then. The British Council asked him to recommend someone to go to America for them and he suggested me. I remember being in Junction Mills and getting a call from the British Council asking if I could go to Los Angeles for 2 weeks as a visiting lecturer at 4 universities. Just amazing! But the Principal was happy to let me go as it reflected well on the College.

My initial visit was for 2 weeks and I really wanted to go back to UCLA. I was delighted when they contacted me a year later and I then went back there a couple more times to lecture, taking leave of absence from 1976 until 1980 and 1986 until 1988. I remember on the last occasion the Principal did warn me that I had to come back on time if I wanted to keep my job! I had more to contribute after my experiences in California each time I returned to my post as Head of the Department of Two Dimensional Studies in Bradford. I was able to introduce students to the work of so many other artists I had met and when we were setting up the degree I had useful input having seen how degree programmes operated in America.”

Ian continued to exhibit nationally and internationally throughout this period. The Printmaking department he founded continues to thrive, as does the significant MA Printmaking programme he established. Ian retired from teaching in 2005 although he continues to work. The response to the recent Hibrida III show at Dean Clough Galleries, dedicated to Ian’s collections and collaborations indicated the exceptionally high regard he is held in by so many other artists.

Photograph by Trevor Griffiths