A world of famous faces at Festival of Chichester exhibition

Some of the most familiar faces from the worlds of sport, music and the movies will stare back at you in the Festival of Chichester exhibition from Bob Hoare at the Oxmarket Gallery (running from June 22-July 4).

Wednesday, 16th June 2021, 9:05 am
Bob's take on Keith Richards
Bob's take on Keith Richards

Bob is a caricaturist of international renown.

His caricatures have been featured in hundreds of newspapers and magazines all over the world on a regular basis over the past 50 years. He is also well known as a technical illustrator, graphic designer and book illustrator.

He looks back on his career with this new exhibition. He is selecting around 40 caricatures to frame; others will be available to view in cellophane. He will also be selling signed, limited edition prints.

“I have got more than 2,000 images, and I was just thinking which ones would look good on a wall,” Bob says.

“I first started drawing when I was a very small infant. I just loved drawing.

“My dad hated the idea of me spending time drawing. He wanted me to go into engineering because that was what he was in.

“He said art was for hippies and beatniks. He said ‘You will never earn any money doing art.’ He just did not think there was any future in it.

“He probably never really accepted what I was doing, and in a way that mattered to me, but I think it made me all the more determined that I would prove him wrong, and that was what has happened.

“I must have been about four or five when I did a picture of the headmaster at the junior school when I was at the infants, and the headmistress took me with the picture to see the headmaster who apparently liked it!

“But when I was older and sitting at home drawing, my father always said that I should be outside with my friends.

“But actually I won a competition in 1952 when I was ten. It was a picture of the Coronation Coach. I won a book token for sixpence! That was a lot of money to a ten-year-old at the time. I have still got that book token. I never spent it. I have never got rid of it.”

Bob did start his working life as an apprentice mechanical engineer, but didn’t enjoy it.

He then became a lab assistant and then a signwriter and then became a technical illustrator for a motor company, doing caricatures for the in-house magazine.

His work started to be picked up by the music press, especially Sounds and he worked for Graphic News.

As for the caricatures: “I don’t really think about how I do them. I just do them. People think if you see a big nose, then you exaggerate it, but I don’t really exaggerate… though I suppose I do a bit. But you just try to get the character of the person as well as the way they look.”

The subjects don’t always approve. Former Doctor Who Jon Pertwee said ‘My nose is not that big!’

“He was not happy. That was him.

“And Sparks, the two brothers, were very angry. I didn’t get the feedback. That went back to Sounds. There were doing a tour and they didn’t like my work. They said it wasn’t over-flattering… but I was not trying to be flattering!”

On the upside, Bob ended up doing a Christmas card for the Roy Orbison fan club which the late great Roy approved of; and when Bob did a picture for Wings and Paul McCartney, McCartney asked if he could use it in a little magazine he was putting out for his tour.

The actor Oliver Reed also liked Bob’s image of Tommy, the Who film, and its cast. However he declined to pay the £100 Bob put as his price tag…

“But I just love doing it. It has been my life. It is something I just really enjoy, something that has always been really important to me and that I still enjoy doing now.”

Entry is free. The gallery is open from 10am until 4.30pm every day except Monday.