In Memory of Mr. Keith Warwick
With the passing of Keith Warwick in July, the decorative arts world lost a friend. To those who knew him he was an extremely generous man willing to share his knowledge, time and passion for the decorative arts trade.
the decorative arts world lost a friend. To some of us, a close friend who will be sadly missed. To those who knew him he was an extremely generous man willing to share his knowledge, time and passion for the decorative arts trade.
Mr. Warwick died at age 49, in Bristol, England on July 14, 2000, survived by his wife Jean, daughter Sophie, mother and brother Craig Warwick (famous Grand Prix portrait artist). His was a life cut short in its prime when he was embarking on a new life in America.
In recent years, he travelled between Europe and America while working for Polyvine Ltd. in areas of both marketing and product development. His traditional English training as a decorative artist and understanding of water based professional products gave him a unique perspective on the business of decorative painting and standards compared to Europe.
Keith was proud of his career as a painter/decorator and championed the respect they earn. In his career he achieved the highest distinction as a marbler and grainer by being decorated as a Freeman of the City of London England in the Worshipful Company of Painters and Stainers; a guild going back to the 14th century. In keeping with his desire to develop a linking of artists and decorators, Keith worked with the Salon of International Decorative Artists; an annual gathering of the world's most distinguished artists sharing techniques and companionship.
With the surge in the popularity of decorative painting and demand for education, Keith saw the need for establishing a training facility for professionals in America. His vision was not for a faux school, but a decorative arts training facility to raise the standard of this art in North America.
Keith and Greg Licht of J.C.Licht Company shared the vision and made the bold step of opening Windy City Studio in Chicago. Since August 1999, Keith had taken on the management of the studio and quickly set out to raise the profile of the studio both in Chicago and beyond.
Keith was very persuasive and convinced local decorative artist Michele Santilli to join the studio as his assistant manager. “Keith helped me grow as an artist and instructor”, commented Santilli.
“He had a passion for teaching and giving without holding back”, Michele went on to say. Working together, Keith and Michele put together a teaching program of progressive training courses giving the students a solid foundation of instruction. Students benefit from their insistence of correct surface preparation, and selection of quality products and tools.
International guest instructors from Europe and North America round out the school by providing students with a rare opportunity to learn and raise the standard for their business. Don Gray, a lifetime educator in England, commented “Keith had a keen interest in building a sense of camaraderie and sharing among North American decorative artists. He was a far sighted individual”. Mike MacNeil states “he was a good guy everyone respected”.
Although he left far too soon, his mark has been made. The North America School of Decorative Art (NASODA) was established under his direction for the stewardship of a network of studios throughout North America. With the committed support of many of the master instructors, J.C.Licht, Benjamin Moore Co. and the students, the future looks bright for years to come. —Neil Cody