A new exhibition of drawings by Ron Sandford opens in Da Gadderie at Shetland Museum this weekend.
Ron worked for many years drawing for books, magazines, newspapers, television, and working closely with eminent graphic designers and architects. This was during his architectural phase before CAD drawings. He made very large drawings of new buildings, from plans and elevations, showing how they would finally look.
When he felt he needed a change from such work he went to live in Hong Kong for seven years, where in a new environment, not able to speak or understand Cantonese, he found the freedom to draw new things.
He sketched tombs on hillsides, old temples, council flats, Chinese people playing Mahjong, exotic flowers and harbours full of ships and oily water.
He would sit outdoors, drawing in 34 degree heat, and then back indoors, he would sit and fill in all the drawings he had made in case “he forgot anything”. Drawing had become habitual.
Sandford returned to England in 1996 and again began working with graphic designers and architects.
When he returned to Shetland he drew even more, to the point of addiction. Everything is a subject for the next drawing: dead mice on trap, a half-eaten ice cream sundae, empty bus shelter. Rarely will he now go anywhere without a large drawing book, or without pens and pencils and A5 record cards.
All the drawings in this exhibition are personal, private things, not commissioned as in the old days, just to show a man’s joy at work, doing what he likes doing most.