Alvin Pankhurst

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About Alvin Pankhurst

Alvin Pankhurst was born in Carterton, New Zealand in 1949. His schoolteacher parents had no particular interest in art. His interest in drawing developed during his teens and he enrolled in the Wellington Polytechnic School of Design, from which he graduated in 1969. The training there was for commercial art, but Pankhurst remembers the example set by his printmaking tutors John Drawbridge and Kate Coolahan.

In June 1969 all of Pankhurst's work up to that time was lost in a studio fire - four years of student studies and 40 or so paintings, experimental abstracts and surrealistic still lives. He suffered 30% burns and spent months in hospital, with plenty of time to think about future directions. His first work when he recovered was a painting, 'Portrait Bust with Tendrils', a horrified face in dramatic lighting, with writhing tendrils instead of hair. The artist sees this as a working out of trauma of his brush with death and disfigurement.

Pankhurst has been a full-time artist since 1970.