Terry Durham

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Terry Durham was an internationally known abstract and figurative artist and poet who had exhibitions throughout the world. Terry was born on 24 September 1936 in East Ardsley, West Yorkshire, where he spent his formative years and died on the 6th December 2013 in the town of Alora, Andalucia, Spain. Mostly self-taught, he studied and was greatly inspired by the works of Paul Klee and a wide range of other European artists such as Picasso, Gauguin, and Matisse. He attended the Leeds College of Art before pursuing painting as his profession.

Early Years[edit]

In 1960 at the age of 24 Terry moved to St Mary, Isles of Scilly where he and his wife worked in the Atlantic Hotel for two years. Here Terry found inspiration in the rugged island landscape and the often sunny and temperate climate of the Islands produced the perfect conditions for his painting. It was while working on the island and through his group of friends there that Terry heard of the growing art scene in London. After a short return to Yorkshire Terry moved with his family to Beckenham in Kent in 1964.

The 1960s and 1970s[edit]

While living in Beckenham Terry got to know Nicholas Treadwell and was one of the regular artists with work on "Nicholas Treadwell's Mobile Art Gallery", based nearby in Croydon. Terry was one of the first artists to show at the Nicholas Treadwell Gallery on Chiltern Street in London when it opened in 1968. Terry's early London exhibitions were widely covered in the local press and they brought Terry into the media spotlight and the attention of some of the celebreties of the era including Bill Wyman, Muriel Spark, Lulu and Andrew Bown now of Status Quo.

In the early 1970s Terry moved back to his roots in Yorkshire where he continued to work while holding exhibitions in London. He struck up a friendship with Stuart Walton, a local artist specialising in northern street scenes, and also with Austin Mitchell who was at that time the presenter of the Yorkshire TV news programme Callendar.

One of his paintings appeared on and was analysed by his friend, the late biologist and science historian Jacob Bronowski, in an episode of the acclaimed 1974 television series 'The Ascent of Man' and the accompanying book.

"The first question we ask is, is the human brain a better computer - a more complex computer? Of course, artists in particular tend to think of the brain as a computer. So in his "Portrait or Dr Bronowski" Terry Durham has symbols of the spectrum and the computer, because that is how an artist imagines a scientist's brain. But of course that cannot be right. If the brain were a computer, then it would be carrying out a pre-wired set of actions in an inflexible sequence." [1]

In the mid 1970s Terry produced his first of a series of children's art books this one based on a character of his own creation Angus the Pangus. This was a black on white line drawing work produced and printed in limited edition by Robin Alston at the Janus Press in Ilkely and reflected Terry's passion for encouraging children to read and draw.

1980s to 2000[edit]

In 1993, Terry moved with his family to the Algarve, southern Portugal, where he lived for 11 years. During his time there, in addition to painting professionally, he had many successful exhibitions, was employed regularly as a mural painter and, going back to his musical roots of the 1960-70s, performed as vocalist for a rock and blues band.

He was particularly inspired by the people, climate, colours, landscape and architecture of southern Portugal.

During this time, Terry also had several international exhibitions, including five in Berlin and one on the island of Jersey. One of his 'Yellow Bird Walking' series is on show in Rickenbakers Music Inn in Berlin and while there Terry had the great pleasure to meet one of his jazz heroes Coco Schumann who expressed a great appreciation and fondness for his work. In 2003, Terry moved to Porto Seguro in the Bahia municipality of north-east Brazil where the vibrant colours, wildlife and tribal cultures played a significant part in the numerous paintings and sketches he would complete during his time there and in the future.

As well as spending his time painting and travelling, he was commissioned by the proprietors of a Portuguese and Jamaican themed beach restaurant and music venue, That Shack, to bring the venue to life through murals painted in his own unique style.

Music and poetry[edit]

Music and poetry were also important to Terry's creative nature and he formed a group called Storyteller with Roger Moon, Mike Rogers and the late Caroline Attard. Storyteller toured the local jazz and folk clubs and were signed by Transatlantic Records recording two albums 'Storyteller', produced by Peter Frampton and 'More Pages'. The group appeared on the same bill with The Humblebums (Gerry Rafferty and Billy Connolly), Hawkwind, and Vinegar Joe (Elkie Brooks and Robert Palmer) during their time. The group's highlight came when they were support act for a UK tour by Ralph McTell, beginning at the Royal Festival Hall, London. Shortly after this they split up. Terry went on to record his only solo album Crystal Telephone, with musical arrangements by John Coleman and featuring the saxophonist Evan Parker,which has recently been re-released and a track played on the Stuart Maconie Radio 6 Music Show Freakier Zone on 15/09/12. His solo work Crystal Telephone has been described as "a wonderfully different album", "Yorkshire's answer to Serge Gainsbourg" and "a beautiful piece of poetry and music - a very unique balsam for the soul”.

More recently[edit]

Durham resided in Alora, a town in the province of Malaga, Andalucia, Spain, where he lived and worked from 2007 until his death on 6 December 2013. He had major individual and combined exhibitions in both Alora and Malaga and participated in regional art competitions. When not painting professionally he taught art classes for children and adults. His work was displayed in various establishments in Alora as murals and caricatures, and he was widely and fondly known in the area as 'el artista' (the artist) or 'el maestro' (the teacher). Terry had his own Facebook page and official website where his latest works can still be viewed and purchased as fine art prints on paper and in floater frames.


  1. ^ "The Ascent of Man" By Jacob Bronowski Copyright © Estate of Jacob Bronowski, First published in hardback by the British Broadcasting Corporation in 1973,First paperback edition published in 1976.

External links[edit]