Howard Folland, my father, was born in 1926 in Cardiff, South Wales. Known in Cardiff as Bert Folland, he was 16 years old when the family was evacuated to the Welsh Valleys during the Second World War. Nearby was a U.S. army base which he and a friend used to visit for handouts of sweets from the GIs – there were no rations for the Americans! It was here that one of the GIs taught him to play the saxophone and so developed his love of music and he played in jazz bands in Cardiff throughout the 50s and 60s.
Howard’s other great love was art, he trained as an art teacher in Cardiff and converted his attic at home into an art studio. Frequent trips to Devon and Cornwall during the school holidays led to Howard, then painting in oils, selling his work in the local galleries. Following the untimely death of his beloved wife Joan he decided to head to the South West permanently. And so in 1976 he brought me and my brother, the two youngest of his four children, to live in Plymouth, Devon where we both remain to this day!
Having retired as a teacher, Howard devoted himself to his art and so began the development of his unique pen and ink style and the collection of drawings that will be available to view on this website. The subject matters are varied, as were his interests in life. You will notice splashes of abstract throughout his work that he could not always explain; he let himself be totally absorbed by, and lost in, his work! In 1979 he re-married and he and his wife Denise travelled the world extensively. During these travels he obtained many ideas for his work. Whilst on a trip to visit his son in Canada they visited some Native American Indian reservations and these were the inspiration for his portraits of the great American Indian chiefs, including Sitting Bull and Geronimo. Both he and Denise were ardent film fans and this interest also manifested itself in his many portraits of film stars ranging from the 1940s to the Tom Cruise era.
This collection of drawings has not previously been shown and now, over a decade since Howard’s death, I want them to reach as wide an audience as possible – hence this website, which I hope you enjoy.