Bill's Story: A portrait of W. A. Sutton

Bill's Story A portrait of W. A. Sutton

Pat Unger

February 2008
252pp, paperback
240 x 170mm, 12pp colour & B&W throughout
ISBN 978-1-877257-70-4

Three years after the artist’s death, W. A. Sutton: A Retrospective was held to celebrate the opening of the new glass-bright Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu, in 2003. Thousands of visitors to the exhibition were bowled over by Bill Sutton’s artistic skill and his vision of Canterbury.

Bill’s Story goes behind the artist to discover the child, the student, the tutor, the citizen, the well-mannered bohemian. The book is derived mainly from Sutton's extensive archives, and from the author’s personal knowledge of the artist. We meet his pioneer grandparents, who hailed from England and Northern Ireland, and his parents and brother in their modest family home in Sydenham, Christchurch.

Pat Unger portrays an attentive son, a steadfast friend and erudite academic, a resolute administrator and a multi-skilled professional artist.

Pat Unger – artist, critic and author – was born in the Waikato. After moving with her family to Christchurch, she studied graphic design at Christchurch Polytechnic and fine arts at the University of Canterbury before becoming a practising artist and art critic. 

In 1994 she was invited by Bill Sutton to collaborate with him in writing W. A. Sutton: Painter. A rapport was established through discussion on many topics, including the complexity of teaching creativity, and the joys – or otherwise – of traditional, modern and post-modern art.