The work of Linda Ryle will be the subject of an exhibition at the Heaton Cooper Studio in Grasmere. Opening July 14 and running through the end of October, the show called Time Regained, shall include samples of painted leather belts Linda designed for celebrities such as Elton.
The artist spoke with this Web site about some of her famous fans as well as about her career.
EJW: How did Elton wind up becoming a client? Did you meet with him personally?
LR: I never met Elton and don’t know where he wore the belt. I came to make it because I sold my work through a boutique called Ace on the Kings Road in Chelsea, which attracted a lot of people who wanted glitzy glam!
I saw some dancers on TV wearing my leopards, and I saw Britt Ekland in a newspaper and a magazine wearing the leopard plus a choker I had made. I was told by the shop that Bianca Jagger had a belt and I made one for Lulu. The work was featured in the Observer and the London Evening Standard, plus others.
The making of these particular shaped belts came out of nowhere. I just had the idea one day to make a belt in the shape of an animal. I had been making painted belts before (since 1974). I taught art and it was a spare time thing, which grew as people saw them and wanted them.
EJW: What sort of design did you create for Elton?
LR: I made one of my leopard style belts for him. I think it may have been 1979/'80. He wanted his initials worked into the leopard spots, if I remember correctly.
EJW: Where did you study or train? Is anyone else in your family an artist?
LR: I went to art school in the 1960’s in Newcastle on Tyne and London (Goldsmiths School of Art) where I studied Fine Art. No one else in my own family is an artist, but my husband, Julian Cooper, is a well-known painter. We met at Goldsmiths.
EJW: Will the Time Regained exhibit be seen anywhere else?
LR: No, but there are photos at the HCS Facebook page. It includes my latest work, which is sort of still life.