Peter Tassell

curriculum vitae

Having completed the intermediate certificate, my schooldays were finished and it was time to seek employment. The first six months was helping my grandfather build a house. I enjoyed working with timber but the house was finished and I did not seek further employment in this trade. The idea of becoming a sign writer interested me and having an ability to draw, I applied for an apprenticeship with Henry Rousel Art Studios in Oxford Street, Sydney. This is where my education began.

This firm had two artists employed as well as six sign writers. I was encouraged by the artists to learn the signwriting first then pursue an art career. The theory was, "that there were a lot of artists trying to scratch out a living, but you could always survive on sign work". How right they were.

I stayed at Rousels for eight years having worked with these people on a great variety of work such as glass work, general signs on various buildings in Sydney, poster work and a time in the silk screen department. I ventured out in the suburbs and worked for Sinclair Signs where a former sign writer named Rex Newell had left and they were short of a pictorial artist. This gave me a chance to develop my art skills, as the commercial motor vehicle industry really got a go on and there was quite a bit of art work required.

The year was 1970 and I decided I would like to start my own signwriting business. This turned out to be a good move as I carried on until the computer age moved into the trade. I was not interested as I felt all the skill went from the trade. However I met up with another Rousel apprentice who came along after I had left. His name is John Perkins, quite a successful artist in Sydney. John encouraged me to come along to his art classes in oils and he helped me quite a lot, also having tuition at John Wilson's annual workshops at Katoomba was a great experience especially in tonal values, perspective and impressionism.

I work mainly from photographs taken locally and on the mid north coast. The Macleay Valley area interested me greatly as I spent the first ten years of my life there and still travel back whenever I can.

I am available for commissions.