Rook Lane Blog

Devastated by the famine in East Africa, and desperate to raise funds to help suffering children, Giles and Aubrey Ford have offered to auction off their artwork and donate a large proportion of the proceeds to charity.

Father and son, Aubrey Ford, 86, and Giles Ford, 45, came together this July for the first time to exhibit their vastly contrasting art work at Rook Lane Chapel. For the closing party on 19 August – they will auction off all their artwork.

“It will be a really colourful evening and a wonderful way to make a difference to other people’s lives. Come and fill Rook Lane Chapel to raise as much money as we can to support the Somalia appeal,” said Giles.

There will be a licenced bar and an acoustic set from sensational guitarist, Nathaniel Myers:

…with a lively art auction – hosted by Mark Rees of Dore and Rees Auction House – to end the evening.

It will also be the last chance to see Giles Ford’s paintings in Frome.
Francine D’Olimpio, owner of the Kobalt Gallery in Provincetown, MA in the States – who represent Giles – described him as: “spontaneous and expressive. He is interested in the alchemy of painting and the dialogue of surprise that occurs when one picks up a paintbrush and engages with imagination and the world. Painting opens up a sense of the ethereal for the artist, a bursting freedom and innocence, and enjoyment of never quite knowing what will happen or why.”

While running the creative communications company he co-founded, Giles studied painting at the Heatherley School of Fine Art and the Fine Arts Work Centre in Provincetown. His current exhibition: ‘To the Land Where the Bong Tree Grows’ is a playful exploration of The Owl and the Pussycat. Canvasses, large and small, adorn the walls of the chapel with floral still life paintings, interspersed with brightly coloured ‘bongs’.

Giles’ exhibition leads through into the café space at Rook Lane, where his father’s professional portraits of children are hung.

Rather than competing as artists, Giles and Aubrey Ford support and encourage each other. It could be said that Giles’ profusion of colour and quirkiness in his paintings is a rebellion against his father’s more serious portraits. But it is an affectionate rebellion, which mirrors their real-life relationship.

Following a decade spent studying art at Daniel Graves Florence Academy of Art and the Accademia di Belli Arti where he became fluent in Italian, Aubrey Ford suffered a stroke which badly affected his short term memory and hearing. His son, Giles, brought him to live in Somerset so they could be near each other.

Aubrey soon realised that, miraculously, he had retained his ability to draw and paint. And so he continues to produce wonderful portraits of young people – capturing the innocence of his subjects in a naïve art-style. Throughout the exhibition, he has offered children the opportunity to have their portrait drawn and he then offers the sitter the original copy – free of charge.

“This is my practice,” said Aubrey, “If they let me make their portrait – I like to give them something in return.”

It is the good willed nature of both father and son that inspired the charity art auction, which will take place between 6 and 9pm on Friday 19 August at Rook Lane Chapel. Giles will donate 25% of all art sales to UNICEF’s East Africa Children’s Crisis Appeal and Aubrey will donate 75% of art work sales to Smile Train – the leading cleft repair charity.

“I want to give children back their smile,” said Aubrey.

A further 25% of all art work sales will go to the Rook Lane Arts Trust to support future activities.

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