Wales

Artist John Selway dies in Abertillery, aged 79

John Selway pictured in his studio in 1996
Image caption John Selway pictured in his studio in 1996

The artist John Selway has died at his home in south Wales, at the age of 79.

A contemporary of David Hockney and Peter Blake at the Royal College of Art in the 1960s, he was a senior lecturer at the Newport School of Art for many years.

He died in Abertillery, where his striking 15-piece Stations of the Cross is on permanent display at St Michael's church.

He was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of South Wales in 2017.

Selway's art, which as well as print-making and painting, also included sculpture and engraving, led to collaborations with several writers.

Subjects included the Holocaust and post-war Europe, while he was also fascinated with his home country Wales and the writings of Dylan Thomas.

He had been been born in Askern, Yorkshire but the family moved back to their home town Abertillery when he was three.

Image copyright John Selway
Image caption John Selway was also a member of the 56 Group of Welsh contemporary artists

Selway enrolled at arts school in Newport at 15 and continued studying around National Service before getting a place at London's Royal College of Art.

There he was known as an unusual figure as a "boy from Wales who already had his own dealer in tow".

He recalled he was making more money from his work at 22 than Hockney was.

"I probably kept reasonable pace with that group of people for about five years and then I realised that my work was not the sort of work that was going to make a lot of money anyhow".

Selway taught at Newport for more than 25 years before retiring in 1991.

Image copyright John Selway
Image caption Part of a triptych which was a meditation on Kristallnacht during Nazi attacks on the Jews

In recent years he divided his time between his Abertillery and Spain, as well as discovering the potential of digital art.

Surgery had affected his ability to speak but Selway was working until the week before his death from cancer on illustrations for a new edition of Arthur Machen's The Great God Pan.

A biography by writer Jon Gower is due out early next year.

Publisher Richard Frame, a former student, said: "As time went by I began to realise what an important Welsh artist he was and that his work was under-appreciated".

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