28 August 1944|
Cadishead, Salford, England
14 October 2008|
Waterfoot, Lancashire, England
|Known for||Cartoonist, Illustrator and Satirist|
Ray Lowry (28 August 1944 – 14 October 2008) was an English cartoonist, illustrator and satirist, possessing a highly distinctive style and wit. He contributed to The Guardian, Private Eye, Punch and the NME amongst many other publications. Lowry lived in Rossendale, Lancashire.
Life and work
He worked in Manchester and London, and although he had no formal art education he first became known as a cartoonist during the 1970s. It was less well known that Lowry was also a painter of urban landscapes following in the footsteps of his unrelated namesake L. S. Lowry.
Lowry drew cartoons for a wide range of publications, and with the emergence of the 1960s underground press he was published in Oz and International Times, which led to a long and better-paid relationship with the New Musical Express (NME), including a weekly cartoon strip titled "Only Rock'n'Roll". Lowry's love of raw 1950s rock and roll was the perfect complement to the new punk mentality that emerged in the late 1970s. He saw the Sex Pistols' "Anarchy" tour at the Electric Circus in Manchester and there he met The Clash. A friendship struck up with the band which led to an invitation to accompany them on their 1979 tour of the USA. From this he created the artwork for their London Calling album sleeve, using a photograph by Pennie Smith.
In the 1980s, Lowry wrote a column in The Face and was a regular contributor to The Guardian. He continued to create memorable art and remained obsessed by rock and roll. Near the end of his life produced a long series of colour images inspired by the 1960s British tour by American rockers Eddie Cochran and Gene Vincent.
Lowry eventually moved to Rossendale in Lancashire. Although he no longer worked for periodicals, he never stopped painting and drawing, and near the end of his life he was taken up by the See Gallery in Crawshawbooth, Rossendale. An exhibition at the See in 2008 proved very successful and he began to plan new schemes including paintings inspired by another namesake Malcolm Lowry's Under the Volcano. Ray died suddenly at the age of 64, after years of ill-health, and was found at his home in Waterfoot, Lancashire, on the morning of 14 October 2008.
The Ray Lowry Foundation
In 2009 The Ray Lowry Foundation was set up by Lowry's son, Sam, and Julian Williams and Jackie Taylor of the See Gallery. The aim of the Foundation is to create an organisation that ensures his work will continue to be remembered and appreciated, and to create a fund in his name that will provide financial assistance with mentorship to individuals and art projects. This will include providing a scholarship to a student studying a course in art to a higher degree level and to make financial awards linked to individual art-based projects.
The Foundation has helped with placing Lowry's work as part of the Malcolm Lowry exhibition at the BlueCoat Gallery, Liverpool, and a major public exhibition of his work at the Salford Gallery and Museum in December 2009. A major exhibition was planned in Leeds for 2010.
A retrospective of his works was being held at The Idea Generation Gallery, London from 18 June – 4 July 2010 in aid of The Ray Lowry Foundation. As part of the exhibition 30 creatives, including Tracey Emin, Nick Hornby, Billy Childish, Harry Hill, Paul Simonon and Humphrey Ocean, produced reinterpretations of The Clash's iconic London Calling album cover in aid of the Foundation.
- Collections of his work
- Only Rock 'n' Roll 1980 ISBN 0-86104-320-0
- This Space to Let 1986 ISBN 0-349-12208-3
- Ink 1998 ISBN 1-899344-21-7
- As an illustrator
- The Penguin Book of Rock and Roll Writing 1992 ISBN 0-14-016836-2
- Rock Talk 1994 ISBN 1-899344-00-4
- Funny Talk 1995 ISBN 1-899344-01-2
- A Riot of our Own: Night and Day with The "Clash" 1997 ISBN 0-575-40080-3
- "Ray Lowry 1944–2008". News. Mojo. 14 October 2008. Archived from the original on 16 October 2008. Retrieved 15 October 2008.
- Ray Lowry: London Calling, Idea Generation Gallery
- Godwin, Richard (15 June 2010). "London Calling again". Evening Standard. Archived from the original on 17 June 2010. Retrieved 16 June 2010.