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David Ferry Biography

David Ferry was born in Blackpool in 1957. He was expelled from school, as he wanted to become a professional racing cyclist, and sacked from a series of worthless jobs connected to the tourist industry on Blackpool’s famous promenade. He later studied art and general studies at the Blackpool College of Technology before attending the Camberwell School of Art and Crafts, and the Slade School of Fine Art in London. His award winning book on the process of montage and collage ‘Painting without a brush’ was published by Studio Vista in 1991 and translated into French and Spanish, and is an established curriculum book in many North American colleges and schools.

Influenced by his early years in Blackpool, David’s recent work takes us back to the sights and sensations, smells and textures of an earlier modernist style, whilst retaining a sense of fun, reminding us that art can be entertaining too. He has a fascination for ‘altered’ books and collects old-fashioned pictorial guidebooks that attempt to portray the uncomplicated rural life of Britain as depicted by Constable. In the tradition of the Surrealists, he uses montage to disrupt the tranquillity of this representation. Historic country mansions, veteran cars and the highlands of Scotland are just some of the subjects embellished with flowers, cakes and the sweet, sugary icing of the confectioner.


His first solo exhibition in London was at the First International Contemporary Art Fair in 1984 in the ‘none aligned section’ alongside Dubsky, Derek Jarman and other artists who did not fit conventionally into the established gallery scene at that time. He was awarded a Pollock/Kransner Award in New York in 2002 and was a medal winner at the First International Book Arts Competition in Seoul in 2004. He was awarded the Rexel–Derwent drawing prize for his work recording the building of Sizewell B nuclear power plant in Suffolk in 1987.

David is the current President of The Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers RE, and a Trustee of the Sidney Nolan Trust UK. He was Chairman of the Chelsea Arts Club, from 2016 to 2018. David is also the Emeritus Professor of Printmaking and Book Arts at the Cardiff Metropolitan University and a Hon Doctor of Arts at Solent University. He was the Honorary Artist in Residence at the Australian Federation University in Ballarat in 2016. His most recent museum solo exhibition was at the Grosvenor Museum, Chester, earlier in 2019.


His works are in the following museum collections;

Art Gallery of Ballarat, Australia, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, The Art Institute of Chicago, The Ginsberg Collection, South Africa, The National Art Museum of Estonia, the Museum of Modern Art New York (library collection), The National Museum of Wales, National Museum of Australia, Canberra, National Art Library London, The Jingling Museum, China and The Victoria and Albert Museum, as well as many private, corporate (British Airways and John Lewis and international university collections in North America and the UK.

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