Fred Rawlinson, born in Memphis, Tennessee in 1940 has worked as a professional artist since 1963 when he received a BFA from the Memphis College of Art. The first three years of his career were concentrated on Medical Illustration, a specialty he learned during a tour of duty with the United States Air Force.
The precise and controlled nature of medical illustration stirred a longing for the freedom and creativity of more personal visual expressions. By 1973 Rawlinson had committed full time to fine art and concentrated primarily on the watercolor medium. In 1973 he returned to study and enrolled at Syracuse University where he earned his MFA. Returning to Memphis, Rawlinson began teaching full time at the Memphis College of Arts.
He resumed his interest in medical illustration and assisted in designing a pre-professional degree program in Biomedical Communications at The University of Memphis.
Rawlinson continued a due appointment between the Memphis College of Art and The University of Memphis. He retired from the Memphis College of Art in 1992. At the time of his retirement, Fred was serving as Director of MCA’s Graduate Program.
Upon retirement, Fred and his wife, Jo, a fabric artist, moved to New Orleans and opened a gallery in the French Quarter. Rawlinson Gallery and Studio at 628 Toulouse featured the work of the two artists. The gallery/studio was moved to Memphis in June 1996.
In January, 1996, Fred was invited to deliver the keynote address at an international communication design conference, One-On-One Communication Arts, in Karachi, Pakistan. This conference, the first ever in Pakistan, featured artists, designers, speakers and conferees from around the world.
Fred Rawlinson’s paintings hang in public and private collections through the United States and in 47 foreign countries.
ARTIST STATEMENT: I admire those who strive for what Walter Pater, the celebrated English essayist and critic called the “hard blue flame” of artistic perfection.
Art of any kind…watercolor, oil, marble statuary, a Beethoven symphony, the gentle fire of Emily Dickinson, the prose of William Faulkner, or the blank verse of William Shakespeare…sprang from deeper wells than those of Oxford, Harvard, The British Museum, the streets of New York, or the Left Bank of Paris.
It is too easy to be intimidated by the artistic elite…to accept the notion that they discovered those wells. Art of any kind was meant to include, not exclude. It was meant to attract players as well as spectators. The flame of creativity burned long before the cooking fire. Paintings on cave walls, ancient carvings, and songs sung long ago were responses by individuals to the drive to worship, learn, the need to explain, to remember, to communicate…both pain and triumph.
The flame of art is a personal flame…a fire than burns inside. Artists don’t paint because of psychological or intellectual analysis. Artists create art because this creative spirit is part of who they are.
This is what I believe and this is what I teach my students.
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