Bryan Austerberry will be starting The Resurgence of Pencil Art on April 5 and going until May 11 at the Parkside Gallery.
“You could say it was back to basics, to try and get people, and young people especially, to get interested in drawing. It’s inexpensive because basically, you have to carry a few pencils and a piece of paper. So hopefully I can help young people get back into drawing or even the older people who drew as youngsters but didn’t bother to do it again,” said Austerberry about his exhibit, and why it has the title it does.
He added drawing is something everyone can do and it doesn’t cost a lot to invest in it. The hardest part, especially for older people, Austerberry says, is believing they can actually do it.
“I have so many people telling me they can’t draw stickmen,” he said. “When they say they can’t even draw stickmen I always tell them that’s a good place to start.”
Born and raised in Hamilton, Ont., Austerberry attended a four-year specialized art school learning and practising drawing, fine arts, photography, advertising, silk screening, clay sculpture and other types of art. He took a keen interest in advertising, which he started his career in after a job fair at his school. He was hired by a company there and took up the offer after he graduated from high school.
He worked for a few other advertising agencies before moving to Chilliwack, where he opened up his own, in 1972. It was when he retired that he went back to what he really loves, which is pencil art.
“In between there, as I like to say, it wasn’t all work. Sometimes I worked when I decided I wanted to eat that week, so I worked various jobs in between as well.”
One of his influences is Norman Rockwell, a famous American illustrator, painter and author who is famous for his work with The Saturday Evening Post magazine.
“It’s funny because someone mentioned it to me the other day when they were watching me draw,” said Austerberry, who draws at shows and events such as the Farmer’s Market. “My early inspiration in life when I was young was Norman Rockwell, and there’s a similar influence in me today… I was drawing and someone [same person above] came up to me and looked at and said Norman Rockwell and that just set me back on my heels a bit because I haven’t thought about that for years.”
Austerberry draws whatever comes to his mind, or whatever interests him at the given moment. Sometimes, he said, he gets an idea while drawing another piece and can’t wait to finish it to start the new piece. Other times, once he finishes something he can’t come up with anything. He, however, doesn’t stick to the same theme or idea.