Nobby Clark 1921 – 2008

Nobby Clark passed away the other day. Nobby was a well known Auckland artist who chronicled much of the life in New Zealand’s largest city in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. His son, Simon Clark, accomplished artist in his own right, heads up Illustration in the School of Art and Design at Auckland University of Technology where I have been teaching since 2005.

Nobby strolled the nocturnal streets of Auckland and wrote, drew and painted the denizens and citizens that he found there. He captured the life on these avenues, especially frequenting the bars and bistros found along Karangahape, or ‘K’ Road as well as those in Ponsonby. In the days of the legendary “six o’clock swill”, he recorded these characters like a Damon Runyon with a brush and a pen. Much of his time was spent in The Wine Bar, a drinking establishment that was able to circumvent the rigid law that denied alcohol in the city’s public houses after 6:00 in the evening, by simply serving wine. Beloved by the regulars there, he told their improbable stories in image and word.

A true individualist, free spirit, and fine art illustrationist — the world needs more like Nobby. He will be sorely missed.



2 December 2008
Auckland, New Zealand