Sound and vision blog

13 April 2020

Recording of the week: Frank Bowling on learning to draw

This week's selection comes from Camille Johnston, Oral History Assistant Archivist.

Darwin Building, Royal College of Art in the City of Westminster, London, U.K. Chmee2 / CC BY-SA (

Frank Bowling won a scholarship to the Royal College of Art, where he enrolled to study painting in 1959. In this extract from his oral history recording for Artists’ Lives, Bowling vividly recalls learning to draw in the crowded life room among his peers David Hockney, Allen Jones and R. B. Kitaj. He describes his intense focus and control, and how it felt to make progress.

Frank Bowling: On learning to draw (C466/127)

To learn more about Frank Bowling’s career see Elena Crippa’s article on Voices of art, published to coincide with Bowling’s retrospective at Tate Britain in 2019.

Frank Bowling was recorded by National Life Stories for Artists’ Lives in sessions between 2001-2016. The interviewers were Mel Gooding and Cathy Courtney. A written summary of the full interview can be word searched on the Sound and Moving Image Catalogue. Listen to the full interview on BL Sounds.

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