Bruce Pearson was at City College from 1967 to 1969 where he studied for his A Levels before continuing onto further study. Below are details of the many achievements he has obtained during the course of his lifetime.
He starts by saying;
“Studying at school in Suffolk for five years, A level Art wasn’t an option (it was the military, church, law or medicine). The option of doing A level Art at college was hugely exciting, leading to an inspirational two years!”
Educational achievements starting A Levels to an exciting career!
1967 – 1969: A Levels at City College Norwich
1969 – 1970: Gt. Yarmouth College of Art & Design, Art Foundation
1970 – 1973: Leicester Polytechnic, BA (Hons) Fine Art
1973 – 1975: Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) Film Unit, Production Assistant
1975 – 1977: British Antarctic Survey, Biological Assistant
1977 – Present: Self-employed artist, printmaker, (and occasional film-maker)
40 years work!
For the past 40 years Bruce has worked full time. This has been as a;
- Freelance artist,
- Exhibitions and Arts Consultant,
- Author and Illustrator working on a range of solo and joint publishing projects.
Additionally, he has sometimes been engaged as a lecturer and with artist residencies.
All of Bruce’s outputs were, and still are, guided by his significant interest in the rhythm and restlessness of the natural world. This is everything from wildlife, habitats and landscapes to people whose lives interact directly with nature and the environment. His outputs have been powerful images and dramatic themes about the natural world and the human relationship to it.
A world of wonder and opportunities!
In Bruce’s own words;
“Life has been a tangle of opportunities and creative pursuit of ideas! Some of these taking just a few weeks or months to complete, others continuing for a number of years! Also, some have ground to an early and not wholly satisfactory end!
My work over the years has involved private commissions from individuals, museums and institutions. I’ve had invitations from the Artists for Nature Foundation (ANF). This has resulted in participation at art events and exhibitions across USA, Europe and South America.
I’ve contributed work to group exhibitions and have undertaken a range of solo commercial gallery shows in the UK.”
As well as painting and printmaking, Bruce completed freelance illustrations on a range of natural history books, magazines and journals. This has included illustrations in the books ‘Rare Mammals of the World’ and the ‘Gem Guide to Zoo Animals’.
A life in Television………
Additionally, he has worked on a number of television film projects, firstly filming in Antarctica as director-cameraman. This was the result of an idea developed in collaboration with a friend and colleague. This idea led to a documentary programme ‘The Private Life of the Fur Seal’ subsequently shown on BBC1 television!
A second programme telling a complex Antarctic story, ‘The 150 Million Ton Shrimp’ aired on BBC2 television two years later.
After writing and illustrating ‘An Artist on Migration’, the chapters centred in West Africa were subsequently filmed. This resulted in the BBC2 television programme ‘Beyond Timbuktu’.
Following his earlier successes, Bruce was commissioned by Channel 4 Television to write and present the six part Birdscape series. This was about a range of British landscapes, the lives of the birds, and some of the people associated with them.
Not one to be idle, Bruce continued to exhibit larger fine art works when the opportunities arose.
Revisiting the past
Bruce lived on Bird Island and South Georgia for three summers in the early 1970’s for a scientific research team. After living with vast numbers of Albatrosses and other seabirds thirty five years ago he was keen to revisit.
The opportunity arose and he returned to the remote Archipelago on board an expedition yacht. This resulted in him sailing from the Falkland Islands in October 2009. Bruce was particularly interested to see what had happened to the birds from his life all those years ago.
Tragically, in the past 30 years, hundreds of thousands of seabirds have been accidentally snared by long-line fishing vessels. Albatrosses especially, have become increasingly threatened over the past 20 years. This has been at a faster rate globally than any other species of birds with many species threatened by extinction!
Wanting to witness firsthand the collision of seabirds and fishermen on the open ocean, Bruce worked with BirdLife International. Through this he gained extraordinary access to the work of the Albatross Task Force. He joined the crew of a Long-line fishing boat, and a trawler, off the coast of South Africa.
A Project with ‘Troubled Waters’……..
As a result of that visit and earlier work on Oceanic and Antarctic themes he is engaged on the two-year ‘Troubled Waters’ project working with BirdLife International.
The ‘Troubled Waters’ project involves art and conservation working in a creative partnership highlighting the lives and fortunes of countless seabirds that collide with industrial fishing interests on the open ocean. In particularly, there is focus on the Southern Ocean around Antarctica. It offers insights into our understanding of the oceans, and inspires new engagement and identification with an extraordinarily urgent conservation crisis.
“The heart of the project is a very personal story and the issues surrounding seabird conservation are as potent as ever.
By pursuing visual art forms which explore species, habitats, and broader conservation issues, an interest about the cultural value and importance of wildlife and landscape might be encouraged.
Weaving together all the strands of this important unique adventure, and telling my personal story about this journey following the lives of albatrosses, is the theme of the ‘Troubled Waters’ book and exhibition.”
Art with an ‘Ecological thinking’…….
Bruce finds nowadays that he’s not just looking at the beauty and complexity of the natural world anymore. Instead, he is focusing on exploring creatively the much broader ecological, and environmental and climate change issues!
He tells us there is a growing artists’ movement described as “ecological thinking”. The Curators call it “ecological art” or “environmental art”.
This new trend highlights the climate crisis, species loss and habitat destruction from the depths of science, economics and politics into the emotional world of culture. This has enormous potential to engage with the public and decision makers by different means.
“In the past, artists have highlighted controversial issues and “wildlife art” should not be an exception.”
A vast collection from 40 years!
Bruce’s studio is filled with huge numbers of drawings, paintings, notebooks, and sketches which all reflect his 40 years of travels.
During his travels he has been to the Arctic and Antarctica, Africa, Europe, the Caribbean, plus North and South America to name a few!
To sum up Bruce says
“There are still opportunities to travel and find new ideas, see new species and experience different landscapes.
Recently the obsessive urge to head off into the field at every opportunity has transferred itself into an equally strong desire to work in the studio. This sees me searching through the accumulated volumes of creative debris for fresh starting points using different printmaking media!”
It sounds like Bruce still has many ‘exciting times’ ahead of him!