Artist Edward (Ed) Povey, acclaimed across the world for his paintings and renowned for the iconic murals he painted on buildings across Wales in the 1970s and 80s, is returning to Bangor this summer.
Ed and his American wife, Donna Tolar Schultz-Povey, will be staying in a house in Bangor owned by the famous sculptor and waxwork maker Wendy Mayer, whose works are in the Saatchi Collection in London.
While in North Wales, Ed and his wife will work on a commission for a New York apartment, a joint work based on the poetry of Luís Vaz de Camões. They will also be working on a commission for an art collector in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
In the coming months the couple will also be visiting North Devon, which they believe is a good place for a studio, given the isolated countryside which allows the privacy to work on their art and is also within driving distance to North Wales and London, with airports near enough to give access to the United States, where Donna’s grownup children and one of Edward’s sons and grandchildren all live.
Ed Povey was born in South London in 1951, he moved to North Wales in 1974 to study Art at the University of Wales in Bangor. He said:
“I ended up in Wales for one reason: that the government would pay my living expenses in 1974-1978 to do a degree there. But in the end I had my children there, and covered all the walls with paintings, but what was so wonderful was that the people kindly embraced me. Instead of rejecting these unfamiliar colourful walls, they allowed me to inspire them. To even practice on them. And for that I will always be grateful. They are my family.”
After painting 25 interior and exterior murals in Wales over a 7-year period between 1975 and 1981, he voluntarily brought the period to a close. He had learned so much about paintings, using those murals as a self-designed apprenticeship, in an arc from the simple product-based ‘Storage Jars” on Holyhead Road:
To the complex composition and painting methods of ‘Pots’ in Porthmadog in 1981:
But Ed wanted to learn things about painting that can’t be learned on a 60 foot wall. He needed to be able to work over paintings, repaint and adjust them in ways that cannot be done on a vast mural. So he deliberately moved his family to the Caribbean island of Grenada in 1982, where he and his first family were caught up in the 1983 invasion of Grenada, in which they were held under a shoot-on-site curfew, and endured weeks of bombing and small arms fire, on one occasion defying the curfew so as to escape bombing.
Hall of Illusion
By 1991, it was the Vice-chancellor of The University of Wales Professor Eric Sunderland who invited Ed Povey back to paint The Hall of Illusion mural in the Powis Hall, after which he stayed. The painting took six months to design and six months to paint, and to this day he’s very fond of it.
From 1981 to 2008 Ed Povey entered into a very lucrative period in his life, with many art collectors across the USA and England, and galleries variously in New York, London, Cardiff, Holland, France, Belgium, San Francisco, Beverly Hills, Scottsdale and Palm beach.
By 2005, Ed had begun working with Donna Tolar Schultz, and they toured his collectors together for months of the year, painted together and ultimately lived together and married in 2010 in Texas.
In 2008 Ed had moved to the USA and had built a home in the Hill Country outside Austin, Texas, one of the biggest music centers in the USA, and also one of the friendliest cities. In Texas Ed painted all the time, slowly changing his style and experimenting with new possibilities.
In the meantime, he was becoming known as a very good teacher of artists, running private workshop classes for professionals and amateurs, coaching them in their art careers. The Austin Visual Arts Association gave him The President’s Award for excellence in teaching artists. To this day there are 70 videos on You Tube, showing him presenting a wide range of subjects.
Donna Tolar Schultz-Povey said: “Wales has always been Edward’s oasis: a place with many friends, as well as his mother, who actually spent five years in Texas with us, and was evacuated in the floods there. She lives in Llanfairpwll now. Also In Port Dinorwic lives Don Draper, who made all the photographic reproductions of Edward’s work since 1981. He did this as a collector and enthusiast, as a supporter of Edward’s, and they are very close. Sadly Don’s dear wife Margaret died only in the last 2 weeks.
“It’s worth mentioning that Edward (Ed to the North Walians) has touched the lives of countless people, not only in Wales, but also the Caribbean, Texas, and in fact everywhere I have been with him. He rarely just ‘meets’ people. He automatically and guilelessly inspires and warms them, partly by his almost child-like sense of fun, and partly because he cares for whomever crosses his path.
“He is as energetic and intensely creative as he was in the 1970s and 1990s on the mural scaffoldings in North Wales. That really never ended.”
Ed Povey with his wife Donna Tolar Schultz-Povey