Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Drawing on Inspiration

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Drawing on Inspiration

Article excerpt

Byline: By Gordon Barr

She was behind one of the most famous record sleeves of all time.

Yvonne Gilbert came to global attention with the controversial record sleeve for Frankie Goes To Hollywood's Relax single.

Now, as she is about to start a new life abroad, her work is to be exhibited in her home town of Newcastle.

It will be an emotional swansong for the artist who, at the age of 55, is about to start a new life in Toronto with her Canadian partner who she married in the summer.

From her home in Spital Tongues she looks back on her childhood, living with rock stars and her award-winning career as an illustrator.

Yvonne is a woman full of character and her studio is filled with drawings, artefacts, records, books galore ( and a full-sized jukebox.

It smacks of organised chaos and of years of producing sought-after drawings for children's books, stamps, record sleeves and whatever Yvonne is called upon to deliver.

She can turn her hands to just about anything and her work ranges from the Frankie sleeve to picture books for the likes of Billy Joel.

Celebrities like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Peter Gabriel boast Yvonne's work.

Dressed as colourful as she talks, Yvonne says her exhibition at Newcastle Arts Centre, which opens on Friday, is probably going to be her last in the North East, if not the UK.

Born in the shadows of the Wallsend shipyards, her story is the stuff of novels.

A former pupil at Holy Cross in Wallsend and Ocean Road School in South Shields, her parents encouraged her artistic abilities from an early age.

"We all lived in my grandparents' house and my grandmother was a failed artist and had an everlasting effect on me," says Yvonne. "What else was there for me to do as a child but draw?"

There was little doubting it was a path Yvonne was set to follow and after finishing at Morpeth Grammar School for Girls, she did a foundation course at Newcastle College of Art before leaving to study graphic art in Liverpool - the city that was to change her life. …

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