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  • Writer's pictureVivienne Boucherat


Like everybody, Chris and I are finally catching up with friends and family, getting around to seeing each other again after lockdowns and restrictions.

In the last week of June, Chris and I were lucky enough to be able to meet up for lunch in London with the ever-inspiring Brian and Sylvia Wall. These two tireless globetrotters were travelling from their house (and studio) in the south of France, back home to San Francisco via London where they could reconnect with their numerous friends, fellow artists and creatives.

Chris and I met them many years ago in Languedoc, shortly after a mutual friend had shown some of my artwork to them. The four of us got on well from the start.

Sylvia (nee Brown) & Brian Wall

Brian Wall is a British sculptor who has lived and worked in San Francisco for decades now. He worked with Barbara Hepworth in St. Ives, Cornwall in the 1960’s, he taught in some of the world’s most prestigious Art Schools - Central School of Art, London and University of California, Berkley. His work has been and continues to be exhibited and collected the world over.

Sylvia is from California. She studied and made art herself and knows her way around the art world. She is well versed in the business, promotion and practice of art, closing the door to her own San Francisco based promotion company just a few years ago. She is full of ideas and wise words.

I always love hearing about St. Ives, and of London and California in the 1960’s - ranging from partying at Patrick Heron’s ‘Eagles Nest’ in St. Ives to shopping at the Beatles’ Apple Boutique and frequenting the 100 club in Oxford Street! Contemporaries and friends with many of the ground-breaking artists from the 1960s, Brian and Sylvia are both full of stories and recollections of the time … these two are just too cool!

Brian also played trumpet and loves jazz – the conversation touched on George Shearing, Peggy Lee, Ronnie Scott, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Queen, Foo Fighters, Kate Bush, Miles Davis, The Zombies and ‘stride’ piano!

We briefly discussed the sticky world of copyright in both art and in music and the pricing and value of original artworks - all complex and messy subjects! There weren’t enough hours!

We talked about the value and work involved in consistently creating new art and music, being inspired and inspiring others. Brian talked about recently making drawings in France with oil bars and oil pastels - materials and equipment he had amassed over decades and never used. The next day I felt compelled to rearrange my own studio to make space for a ‘drawing corner’ and started digging out all of my unused art materials to create some new work. I have unearthed a mountain!

By chance, this visit, I found out that Brian was born in the same London hospital that my parents met during medical training! Small world!

All too soon lunch was over but it was so energising and great to reconnect.

Safe travels both … this is just au revoir!!

You can find out more about Brian at:

With Brian in his San Francisco studio 2015

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