Published: December 3, 2021 | Updated: December 3, 2021

“I had made it, albeit 40-plus years late” says Ian as he proves you can follow your dreams

Ian Cox with one of his art creations.
By Andrew Diprose, editor

Ian Cox is living proof that it’s never too late to follow your dreams.

When he left school in the 1970’s, his one goal was to go to art school.

But his father put his foot down.

“Apparently art school was full of long-haired hippies smoking pot,” said Ian, now 62.

So, instead, Ian followed a varied career which included being a commercial artist, typographer, designer, printer, insurance agent, independent financial advisor, recruitment consultant and handyman.

He even lived and worked in Vietnam for a while but the dream of going to art school was always there.

Then, four years ago, he saw an advert for a Weymouth College foundation degree course and promptly signed up.

Two years later Ian finished the foundation course and decided to complete his degree by going to university, specifically Arts University Bournemouth.

Ian said: “Yes I had made it, albeit 40-plus years late.

“It was brilliant and I was really enjoying the freedom and use of amazing facilities and tutors.

“As a surprise it was also identified that I had dyslexia.

“It was a shock at the time but explained many things.

“Then Covid came.

“One day we were told to be off campus by 5pm.

“I had five foot square unfinished canvases, and other works, to finish painting at home. Not ideal.

“So after only a short while the dream was cut short.”

But not finished.

Instead Ian’s degree moved online with group tutorials.

He said: “We couldn’t even have an end of year show which had already been booked in a London gallery.

“A show we as students were raising £10,000 to finance.

“Despite this I graduated with an honours degree.

“Even the graduation ceremony was postponed for a year.”

And now Ian, of Wyke Regis, is staging his first exhibition at Weymouth’s Harbour Gallery.

Entitled ‘Vitamin Sea – An exhibition of inspired artworks by Ian Cox’ it runs until Saturday December 11.

Ian, who is also a percussionist with the Celtic roots band Portland Coves, said: “My work is very varied and I use a number of mediums.

“I have had work exhibited in Abbotsbury Sub Tropical Gardens, Weymouth Collage mural and the Mark Hix restaurant.

“I’ve also worked in collaborations with other artists including Danny Boyle ‘Pages of the Sea’ and Bob and Roberta Smith’s ‘Modern Day Martyrs’.”

Harbour Gallery is at 16 The Esplanade Quayside at the basement of Edward Court, DT4 8AN.