early drawings #1. © 2007 Tom Ferguson
cafe scene

The full figure to the lower right (shot under glass so has reflections), is another from this period. I used figures like this in a large, multi-stone lithograph. Good "practice" but utlitmately too cutesy.  collection WillEYE Oliver

These drawings are from art school days or shortly after, 1967-9. The image to the left, preliminary for a painting, shows how I was influenced by Hopper, the Ash Can School, the Social Realists.  I had not yet connected with abstraction and was still quite naive about figuration, despite five semesters at a good art school. Had come a long way though. I was surprized to find the thoughts written around the drawing, that they are not all that different from what i'd have to say today.  Well, they point at where I eventually arrived. The text  reads:

"Why do I want to be an artist? It seems one is expected to do something! so I chose something that I thought would distinguish me from others - a superficial reason, true but a start - In degrees, i'm sure this reason still remains - regardless of motive my awareness of life and my relationship to it, in it, has increased. My unawareness has become more clear to me. To understand, to see, to know has become important to me. Art is not my religion. Art might be a vehicle which will bring me closer to life.

This moment in my work, I am trying to communicate to others how I see human beings as they (we) stumble about our existence. At this stage I am using the figure and am aware that some will accuse me of illustration(!) but this is the way my inspiration - laziness - rationalization etc; tell me to work.  Perhaps i'll evolve into total abstraction but this is where i'll start.

My attempts at sculpture are still in the "thing" category - of relating parts - letting each part dictate the next - I feel that this is as legitimate as my other approach - I just haven't reached a level where it can mean as much to me."

Below are two studies of RFK. He was still alive at the time. I was driving a taxi part-time during that period and worked in a sketch book/pad while waiting for a fare. It's a fair likeness, something even today I cannot be depended on to come up with... it's hit or miss. Not my forte nor interest. I had discovered in art school that I could develop and that got me working, excited, eager... both for the identity and  self-esteem I lacked and the intuitive glimpse I was having of the road I would travel.

cafe closer in Layton era drawing

art school drawing  The drawing to the left is a still-life study from a class at  Layton School of Art called Composition. I must have  been a first year student so that would be 1966-7. Late  in the year so the drawing shows 6 months or so of  Mr.  Sofa. I was kind of astonished at his answer when I  sought his advice about whether to shift my major from  commercial to fine arts... "It doesn't matter." he said.
collection Dusty & Maureen Ferguson