Austin Osman Spare is an interesting person not only in terms of his artistic talents but also as a writer, philosopher and practicing occultist. As an artist, he was a representative of such art movements as Art Nouveau and Symbolism. In an occult capacity, he developed unique magical techniques including automatic drawing, automatic writing, and sigilization, later dubbed chaos magic, or chaos magick.
Austin Spare took an early interest in art. From about the age of 12, Austin Spare started taking evening classes at Lambeth School of Art (now the City and Guilds of London Art School), studying under the direction of Philip Connard. Sir William Blake Richmond was impressed by his talent and recommended him for a scholarship to the Royal College of Art (RCA) in South Kensington. However, Spare soon became dissatisfied with the teaching he received there; he began to skip his classes and was disciplined by his tutors as a result. In 1905 he left the College without having received any qualifications.
He received his first employment at Sir Joseph Causton and Sons, a company that focused on the design of posters, in 1900. Nine months later, he quit this job and began as a designer at Powell’s glass-working business. In May 1904, Austin Spare held his first exhibition in the foyer of the Newington Public Library. That’s when his professional career began.
The artist survived both world wars, which greatly influenced him. In 1917, Austin Spare was forced to join the Royal Army Medical Corps, initially being stationed at its depot in Blackpool. Towards the end of 1918, the artist was sent back to London, where he was based at the King George’s Hospital Barracks in Stamford Street, Waterloo; he served as the acting staff-sergeant. Spare was given the task of illustrating the conflict along with other painters, they were based in a studio at 76 Fulham Road. Spare was demobilized in 1919, settling in Bloomsbury, Central London.
At the beginning of the Second World War in 1939, Spare tried to join the army but was deemed too old. In the subsequent Blitz of London, Austin Spare‘s flat and all the artworks in it were destroyed by a bomb on 10 May 1941, injuring his arms and making him homeless. And it was not the end, it was the beginning of a new era in Spare‘s life! Read the full version of the artist’s biography on prabook.com.