Joe Tilson b.London 1928 -
Following National Service in the RAF, Joe Tilson first took up art at St Martin’s School moving on to the Royal College in 1952 where his contemporaries included Peter Blake, Bridget Riley and Richard Smith. As a student he painted figuratively although the exhibition at the Tate of American Abstract Expressionist art in 1956 influenced him as it did many other young British artists. After winning the Rome Prize he lived in Italy where he met his wife Joslyn who was studying under the tutelage of Marino Marini.
By 1961 he began to make use of the carpentry skills he had acquired before going to art school, creating brightly coloured structures incorporating stenciled lettering.
No one took to the screenprint medium more than him. Aided and abetted by Chris Prater of Kelpra Studios he remained true to his promise of “… rubbing out the edges of what a print is and extending it.” During the 60s many Pop Art classics were produced.
Towards the end of the decade he became increasingly disenchanted with both this mechanical means of production and the political situation in the world as a whole.
Moving to the country he once more became involved with constructions and traditional means of printmaking, a reflection of his concern for the environment, drawing his subject matter from ancient mythology and pre-Classical sources.