Iain the Artist
Iain Turnbull … Brief Biography
Born Sydney 1965, Iain Turnbull came to Brisbane aged 5 and, apart from six years in Europe in the late seventies, he spent the rest of his life here until his untimely death from cancer in 2009 at the age of 43.
From an early age he showed quiet determination and a strong individualism… as his brother Matthew says of him, ‘He did things his own way and in his own time.’
He opted out of formal education in the UK at age 12 during the family’s travels in Europe from 1976-1981, but these years - particularly more than a year in Spain - were tremendously important to the stimulation of his overall development. He acquired an impressive general knowledge through a wide
ranging interest in books, language, history, music, cinema, theatre and the natural world and, of course, his deep love of art.
Following the family’s return to Brisbane in late 1981 and some years at Brisbane Institute of Art - first under an informal scholarship and later with studio access to work independently at printmaking - he returned to formal education at age 35, enjoying a distinguished academic record at Queensland College of Art (QCA) before graduating in 2004 with a 1st Class Honours
Degree in Fine Arts.
From 1982 to 2006 he worked part-time in retailing at Myer Queensland and, this, coupled with his frugal lifestyle, enabled him to achieve full ownership of his home in Annerley where he lived from 1992 to the time of his death.
Iain was diagnosed with advanced colo-rectal cancer in late 2006. As a chemotherapy outpatient over the next three years his gentle manner and quiet good humour in the face of his illness made a deep impression on all the Mater Hospital staff with whom he came in contact.
His father says, ‘Iain is deeply missed by the family. Elizabeth and I, particularly, shared so many interests with him. He was loved and admired by all who knew him and we have been amazed and touched how powerful an impact such a quiet unassuming person had on those around him.’
From childhood Iain followed his own artistic intuition, working in a variety of media including printmaking - the area in which he majored at QCA. Although not known to a wide public audience, his art was highly regarded by his fellow artists and QCA colleagues; never flamboyant or self-assertive, it invites the
viewer to enter, and be absorbed in, a world of quiet introspection.
Iain left his artworks to his parents with the wish that they be retrospectively exhibited, and they donated a large number, many never previously exhibited, for sale at these Memorial Retrospective Exhibitions. Total proceeds were shared equally between the Mater Foundation, Brisbane (to help fund the purchase of two new patient treatment chairs in the Mater's Oncology Ward) and a Memorial Fund set up to create an ongoing annual award for printmaking in Iain’s memory at Queensland College of Art.
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