[Biographic material based on 2012 correspondence with Lee Dunn, descendent and legacy information].

Buzacott was painter, printmaker, illustrator and commercial artist, was born in Perth. After his father died he moved to Melbourne with his mother to join his grandfather, a noted seascape painter, at Caulfield but spent his holidays with his grandmother at Kalgoorlie. He later remembered the impression that the isolated, barren life of the Kalgoorlie miners had on him. In Melbourne he attended Wesley College, where he was a champion athlete.

He attended a commercial art college (Leyshon White) and left Melbourne to study commercial art in Sydney (1924-26), working at Farmers during the day and studying at Julian Ashton 's Sydney Art School at night. After returning to Melbourne he drew fashion designs for various commercial art studios and became friends with a young developing group of commercial artists, including James Flett , Dominic Leon and Mervyn Wallis. Together they began experimenting with various printing methods, especially linocut, lithography and etching.

In October 1930 Buzacott helped found Strife , a magazine that lasted only one issue before being banned by the police. He drew woodcuts in it as 'N. Vellis’. In 1930 he exhibited with The Embryos, and in 1931 Buzacott, Dalgarno , Flett, Eric Thake , R.V. Francis, J. Vickery and Bill Dolphin, calling themselves 'The New Group’, held an exhibition at the Athenaeum Gallery. All except Dolphin (a violin maker), showed prints, drawings or oils. Buzacott was then sharing a studio with Noel Counihan and Roy Dalgarno and had become increasingly attracted to Marxist ideals. He used stark b/w wood and linocuts to convey the mood of the Depression and draw attention to its victims, e.g. Queensland Roadworker c.1931, linocut on tissue paper, NGA, and West Melbourne Street Scene c.1938, wood engraving, QAG, a dark image of cheerful people in slum housing (both ill. Merewether). He often used the pseudonym 'N. Vellis’ for his magazine illustrations too.

In late 1931 Buzacott was a foundation member of the Workers Art Club. In 1933 he met and married Winifred McClintock, Herbert McClintock 's sister. Three years later, he used two small inheritances to travel to England where in 1936-38 he studied with Iain MacNab at the Grosvenor School, London. There he met the Australian painter George Bell , a key figure in the foundation of the CAS where Buzacott was to exhibit, and with whom Buzacott briefly studied during WWII to develop his painting skills (according to McCulloch Buzacott trained with Bell in 1940.)

Buzacott returned home in 1938 and soon moved to Warrandyte, where he shared the late Penleigh Boyd’s studio with for a time. He continued to exhibit with a group formed in Melbourne in 1935, the New Melbourne Art Club, which included Flett, Dalgarno and Heffernan. In 1940 he won the BFAG Crouch Art Prize for a painting. In 1942 he exhibited at the Kadimah cultural centre in Carlton alongside Bergner , Counihan, O’Connor and Wigley .

During WWII he joined the Cartographic Corps of the army stationed in Bendigo and Brisbane. Buzzacott and other artists were trained in plotting aerial photographs which became the major source of wartime mapmaking.] Buzzacott also designed posters for the war effort (said to be unsigned). He exhibited in Melbourne with other soldiers known as The Five Group during the 1940s.He sold his paintings only to friends and acquaintances while continuing to make a living from commercial art and from illustrating pamphlets and books, including Alan Marshall’s These Are My People (Cheshire, 1944).

He was transferred to Brisbane with the Mobile Lithographic Printing Company. The intention was to have a fully equipped drawing and printing unit close to the front line. This unit produced 1:25,000 maps (artillery) and photo maps. Buzzacott made pocket money painting small portraits of American soldiers that they sent home. Roy Dalgarno also worked for the Camouflage Section in Brisbane at that time.

‘Carto Corps’ included many commercial artists including the artists Arthur Boyd and John Perceval. It was known as “The Zebra Corps” because all became Sargeants [three stripes indicating rank] as soon as they joined up. (information supplied by Jim Wright & Murray Young letters,1979).

He was transferred back to Melbourne to Design Division in 1943 (Grahame King letter 1979). He was Art Director for United Service Publicity (John F. Barnes, founder, Karl Morris, Director) founded 1945 by returned soldiers. He became a freelance commercial artist around 1946 and rented space in the studio of Jim and Joyce Wright 44 William Street. (Jim Wright letter 1979).

After the war Buzacott became a member of the VAS, along with others who stopped exhibiting with the CAS. By then, he was mainly painting landscapes. In 1949 He left Melbourne for Brisbane to work in commercial art. He later undertook work with Garnsey Green & Clemenger (founded ca.1955). He lived in Wynnum, near Brisbane, site of an artists’ colony that developed around John Manifold, a communist poet and musician who had fought as a volunteer in the Spanish Civil War. He continued to paint landscapes while employed on commercial art and teaching at QIT. He won the Redcliffe Art Prize in 1969. Later he moved to South Tweed, where he died in 1976.

Some of Buzacott’s paintings combine modernism and realism, e.g. Scene at Doncaster 1940, o/c, BFAG (like US country town painting, ill. Hansen, cat.144, and Merewether, cat.18). His work was included in exhibitions at the AGSA in1984, QAG 1985, McClelland Gallery 1981.

[Lee Dunn also notes that Buzacott painted a milk bar mural in the late 1950s or early 1960s for a milk bar in the Wynnum/Manly bayside area of Brisbane. It was described as large cartoonish and kind of anthropomorphised map of Stradbroke Island and Moreton Island]

[Biographic material based on 2012 correspondence with Lee Dunn, descendent and legacy information].

Kerr, Joan
Michael Bogle
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