Arts and Culture

Works of Heart

Story: Dan Walker   |   Photo: Cody Fox

He remembers it like it was yesterday, a young Kevin Rogers was standing on the observation deck of Sydney’s AMP Building with his father, admiring bustling Circular Quay and the ferries cutting their way across the glistening harbour – the impressive arch of the Harbour Bridge to his left and the shells of the Opera House emerging from a busy construction site to his right. He recalls this moment in 1964 so fondly, not just because of the impressive panorama but because it was at this very moment that he felt compelled to sketch what he witnessed.

Armed with a sketch pad, tin of Faber Castells and ‘How to Draw Animals’ by Walter Foster, he began experimenting with pencil illustration techniques and plein-air drawing whenever he could. He has been experimenting ever since.

A fast learner, Rogers won his first art competition at 13. It was the first of many with countless awards now to his name – including first place in the prestigious ‘Katherine Prize’, a worldwide colour pencil competition, and recognised as a ‘Master Pencil Artist’ by the Coloured Pencil Community of Australasia Inc – the only artist in Queensland to achieve this honour.

Art hasn’t always come first though with Rogers joining the Air Force in 1977 and serving for twenty years, seeing him travel extensively before settling in Hervey Bay to work as a graphic designer in 1997. Five years later he was off again, working as he travelled until 2009 when Kevin settled in the Northern Territory. Here he built his first art gallery using galvanised iron salvaged from an abandoned army barracks and Kevin formally retired to focus on his passion.

Now on the Fraser Coast, Kevin finds strength and therapy in art and music.

“When I sit in my studio and draw, all of my pain and troubles are quickly forgotten,” he reveals.

“My art is my peaceful place”

When not drawing outdoors, Rogers works from a source photo that resonates with him. On first inspection, you’d be forgiven for mistaking one of Rogers’ drawings for a photograph, such is the exquisite level of detail he painstakingly adds to each one. It is not unusual for him to invest over two hundred hours into a single piece.

You can admire some of Kevin’s works in the Hervey Bay Art Society 39th Annual Competitive Art Exhibition held at Gatakers Artspace from Friday 28 July until Sunday 10 September.

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