Ian Tyson Biography

Ian Tyson




Ian Tyson, professor, painter, printmaker, and book artist, was born in Wallasey, Cheshire, England in 1933. Tyson grew up in Upton, outside of Birkenhead, but spent much time as a child with his grandparents near Wigan where he attended schools during World War II. After graduation, he worked in the shipyards as an apprentice engineer but realized his desire was to work independently creating art so he continued his studies at the Birkenhead School of Art and the Royal Academy Schools in London.

Tyson taught drawing and printmaking at the Farnham School of Art between the years 1959 and 1966, the St. Martin's School of Art between 1964 and 1984, and the Wimbledon School of Art. In the capacity of visiting professor, Tyson taught at the Royal College of Art, the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and the University of California at San Diego, and he received a Brinkley Fellow at the Norwich School of Art in England.

His first solo show was mounted in 1961 at the Ashgate Gallery in Farnham and a few years later he was awarded first prize at the Welsh Arts Council St. David’s exhibition in 1964. He has had over fourteen solo and thirty group exhibitions throughout Europe. His contributions to the book arts include work in graphics, design, publishing and typography. Tyson established the Tetrad Press (1970-1995) as a vehicle to form a new relationship between contemporary art and literature. He began his quest with poetry and collaborated with poets on numerous publications. The Ian Tyson Collection at the British Library is the most extensive public collection of Tyson-related books in Europe and the Ian Tyson Collection at the University of California at San Diego contains book production materials by Tyson and numerous prominent poets.

Ian Tyson died in October of 2021 in Provence, France.

Sources: London Arts Group, British Library, the Tate, the Online Archive of California