Location:Boken HillPublished in:
Broken Hill Artist, Painting, Drawing, Visual Arts
Artist Spotlight on Bob Groves - from mines to cartoons Bob Groves is a former Broken Hill miner and a prolific illustrator, who was recruited by mining companies to draw safety posters for underground workers.
Bob was born in Broken Hill. As a child he would hide under the sheets with a torch and paper and pencils long after his father told him to go to sleep. His artistic talent was nurtured by his mother. When he left school he obtained work at the local mines. 'Once you got a job on the mine in those days you're virtually guaranteed of permanent employment. Security, your superannuation, life insurance and the wages were reasonable enough to support a family.'
Bob soon found a use for his artistic talent underground. He started by drawing cartoons of all the little mistakes and upsets the other workers had. At one point he was drawing 12 cartoons a day. Eventually, the mining company recruited Bob to draw cartoons of safety posters and even a safety calendar for the mines inspection department. Then, after 28 and a half years on the mine, 'I decided I wasn't cut out to be an underground worker so got out of there'.
Bob took up painting seriously when he left mining in 1993, the same year he joined the Willyama Art Society. The following year he became president and remains in the role today. 'I paint at least three hours a day. It’s become second nature, I suppose.'
Bob exhibited at the Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery in October 2017. Bob taught art at many institutions including TAFE, Robertson College and Broken Hill Gaol and mentored many artists. During the COVID-19 lockdown, Bob taught himself to make paper clay and has been working on a sculpture from the material. His advice to emerging artists is 'just keep going'.