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Anthony Avery

Anthony J Avery - Artist

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A Promising Start

Anthony J. Avery was born in Smethwick, West Midlands, in the front bedroom of a small, two up and two down terraced house which he shared with his mother and father, his Auntie Joan and Uncle Alf, and their two sons, plus his grandmother, for the first ten years of his life.

The second World War was over; times were hard, as it was for everyone in those days. Nevertheless it was a happy childhood.

It was at the young age of eight years, that his first love of drawing and painting began - thanks to a Christmas present from his father of a biro pen and a box of waxed crayons from Woolworths.

By 1959 the family was rehoused by the City Council to a new housing estate at Quinton, which was then a country suburb of Birmingham. At the age of thirteen Anthony was selected for a place at the Stourbridge School of Art, where began two years of intense studying in painting and drawing, glass making and engraving, History of Art, sculpture, and ceramics. After achieving top grades in his studies he eventually moved on to Stourbridge College of Art, then Birmingham College of Art.

In 1964, at the age of eighteen, he was invited to become an associate member of the RBSA, exhibiting at the Royal Birmingham Society of Art galleries in New Street, Birmingham.

In 1965/1966 he entered and won the first prize, over two consecutive years, in the Open West Midlands Art Festival competition in the professional class, although still an amateur painter. He was presented with 500 yards of fine cotton canvas and various boxes of of oil paints and watercolours, charcoal and pastels, as an encouragement to pursue his studies.

Throughout the 1960s Anthony was not only chasing his dreams as an artist, but was also training as a Silversmith in Birmingham's Jewellery Quarter, and playing rhythm guitar in a 'rock and roll' band called The Leaders; somehow finding the time to write 120 poems, 13 short stories, and a novel entitled 'Easier Said than Done', which was completed on the eve of his 21st birthday in 1966.

A Change in Direction...

In 1966, just six weeks after his 21st birthday, Anthony married his childhood sweetheart, Barbara, the lead vocalist in The Leaders band.

Settling into suburban life in Halesowen, the rock and roll days over, he abandoned his art to set up his own silver manufacturing company in the heart of the Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham
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By 1976, in October that year, his daughter Nicola was born, and nine months later, Anthony lost everything.

Jubilee Silverplate went into liquidation, his marriage was over. Anthony was homeless, penniless, and on the road to nowhere!

 

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