About Martin Lovis

My earliest memory of creating something artistic was making a picture of a house by sewing buttons from my mothers needlework box onto a piece of cloth. I was about six years old at the time.

I left school at age 15 and went to work as an apprentice photographic retouching artist, for four years, at Photospeed, a South London lithographic printing company.

relaxed youth sitting with arms folded showing the soles of his boots
Me, age 17, 1970

After completing my apprenticeship at Photospeed, I enrolled in a three year full-time course in Graphic Design at Ravensbourne (Bromley) College of Art (School of Vocational Studies), Wharton Road, Bromley, Kent, where I was awarded a Diploma in Art and Design with Honours (1975).

After leaving Art College I began full-time work as a junior sales promotion planner at GLH Marketing Services, the then sales promotion marketing subsidiary company of the Young & Rubicam advertising agency, in Camden Town, London, where I worked for three years.

During this time I gained valuable sales promotional marketing experience working for a number of "blue chip" clients including, Cadbury's, H.J.Heinz, The Daily Mirror Newsgroup, Allied Breweries, Cadbury's McVities Cakes, Golden Wonder Snack Foods, Typhoo Tea and The Co-operative Retail & Wholesale Group (a.k.a., the Co-op).

group of people posing for staff party xmas card
Me, age 22, at Y&R, (top row, 4th from right)

My next job was as an Account Manager at Interact Marketing Consultants, London, where I gained international promotional marketing experience and worked for two years with other "blue-chip" clients including, Beecham Products International, Exstra Bladet (Danish tabloid newspaper) and Crown Decorative Products.

During my time working at Interact my girlfriend and I became friends with a married couple from South African (both white) who told me absolutely nothing about the racial segregation reality in South Africa, of which I knew nothing, until news broke of the South African police shooting school children during the 1976 school student uprising in SOWETO (near Johannesburg).

This event shocked me into finding out more about apartheid, first from a now larger group of South African friends, and then from reading South African history books. This new information eventually led me to respond in the only way I knew best - by combining my promotional marketing experience and my creative artistic skills into making an independent, strategic and tactical, artistic attack against the apartheid regime.

My "art attack" was to be peaceful but the pictures themselves would be a violent and uncompromising exposure against the apartheid regime.

After careful consideration, I resigned my job at Interact to concentrate on designing my new objective; to produce my own campaign against apartheid.

Subsequently, from 1978 to 1980, I produced 27 collage pictures against apartheid.
These pictures were specifically created to raise public awareness of the apartheid reality and were not offered for sale.

serious looking young man (me) standing in front of painting
Me, 1982, London.

Between 1980 and 1982, I went on to exhibit these pictures everywhere I could starting at the University of London Student Union (U.L.U.), Malet Street, London, and then on to the Africa Centre, King Street, Covent Garden, London, and then at the Morning Star - 50th Anniversary - Beat The (Tory) Blues Festival held at Alexandra Palace, London.

The musicians line up for the Beat the Blues Festival.
Morning Star Festival, musicians line up, London, 1980

I also exhibited at the Club Voltaire, Frankfurt, Germany, Leicester Polytechnic Student Union Hall, Cambridge University Student Union Refectory, the Quakers Meeting House, North London, the Fabian Society, London and the Camerawork (Half Moon Photography Workshop) Gallery, London.

Martin Lovis in discussion with  exhibition visitor.
In conversation with exhibition visitor, London, 1981

At the first exhibition, entitled Art Attacks Apartheid, I specifically invited the Cultural Attaché from the South African Embassy in London to attend the opening. He came with all of his staff and an interesting exchange of views about the pictures was held between us in public.

A very supportive feature article about the exhibition then appeared in the August 1980 edition of New African magazine.

Magazine article about martin lovis

Magazine article by Marin Lovis

Also in 1980, Medico International - the Frankfurt based organisation providing medical aid to developing countries - reproduced 12 of my pictures as full colour postcards with an 16 page accompanying booklet (in English and German languages) entitled Apartheid Outside In. This production was aimed at raising awareness of apartheid among the German people and also to promote and raise funds for Medico International.

Apparently, many of these postcards were actually posted, mostly by members of the German public, to apartheid government ministers in South Africa.

Booklet Apartheid Outside In my Martin  Lovis published by Medico International.

During this period I obtained freelance artwork commissions from various book publishers including Heinemann, Longman, Allison & Busby, Edward Arnold, International Defence and Aid Fund For Southern Africa (IDAF) and also for the music publishers Rough Trade Records and Nachum Heiman Music Productions, London.

Martin Lovis at the art desk working on record cover art for Rough Trade records.
Working on artwork for Rough Trade Records, London, 1982. Photo by: Joss Reiver-Bany

In 1981 I formed a new campaigning arts group with the African Dawn poetry and music group and together, with other British based artists and performers, we launched the (First) Festival of Progressive Poetry, Music and Art from Africa at the Africa Center, London.

Programme booklet  Festival of Poetry Art and Music from Africa

Later in 1981 an attempt was made on my life which left me in hospital for three days with head injuries, leaving me with a permanent scar in my right eyebrow.

Undaunted, I carried on exhibiting the pictures wherever I could find exhibition space.

Further "dirty tricks" followed, probably perpetrated by the South African Bureau Of State Security (B.O.S.S.).

Probably as a result of the dirty tricks campaign there was suspicion and confusion at the time among the small number of anti-apartheid help groups as outlined by Roger Fieldhouse in his retrospective Anti Apartheid History in Britain.

There were other disturbing tactics aimed at dissuading me from continuing to exhibit. This was not at all surprising and actually encouraged me to try even harder to find exhibition space. However, these trying events eventually resulted in a financial crisis which forced me to abandon my campaign against apartheid and seek full-time paid work.

My last exhibition against apartheid was held in 1982, in a cow shed, as one of the main exhibitors at the (First) World Of Music Arts & Dance Festival (WOMAD) at the Royal Bath and West Show Ground near Shepton Mallet, Somerset, England. This exhibition was followed by some very helpful and encouraging press exposure reviews in the October 1982 edition of The FACE magazine and in the July 1982 edition of the New Musical Express (NME).

The Facr magazine front cover

The Face feature article page 75

The Face article page 76

Newspaper cutting from the New Musical Express mentions Martin Lovis at Womad

However, without enough income and with unpaid bills mounting, I had no alternative but to sell my London home to settle all of my debts.

Martin Lovis standing by  his  Fiat 124 Sport Coupe car outsdie London flat before sale of both the pay off debts.
Outside home, Fermoy Road, London, W9. 1982

I left London early in 1983 to stay with friends and sojourn for a while in the East Sussex countryside.

After a few months I returned to London and restarted full time employment initially in newspaper advertising sales in London and then as a sales representative for creative services companies in London and Manchester.

Martin Lovis with QBF company car , Euston Station, London , 1985
Euston Station London, 1985

Over the following years, I was able to rebuild my professional marketing career and eventually established my own consultancy business specializing in designing innovative strategic and tactical sales promotional marketing campaigns for various national and international clients, including Beecham Products International, Brentford, London, and the Black Music Association (BMA) Kilburn, London.

copy of original contract with names and titles blurred out for privacy
One of my "specialist services" contracts 1986

Martin Lovis in a business suit with sunlight on head and shoulders.
Age 35 years

Page 1 front cover details seminar is about music business copyright, contrcat and publishing advice.

page 2 details what seminar is about and how to join BMA.

page 3 details manin speakers adnd specialist advisors.

page 4 details how to get there and what is costs to attend.
Another "specialist service" promotional marketing initiative
designed, and implemented for BMA, London, 1988

Martin Lovis and Phile from the Black Music Association London.
With Phil Buchanan from the BMA, London, 1986.

In 1993 I was awarded a RSA Certificate in Desktop Publishing.

In 2001 I obtained a City & Guilds Further and Adult Education Teaching Certificate and went on to lecture Graphic Design to 1st and 2nd year students at Hastings College of Arts and Technology, Hastings, East Sussex, and then at West Kent College (K9), Tonbridge, Kent where I also taught 'A' Level Graphic Design students and was Personal Tutor for two years to all 1st Year Graphic Design students.

My Graphic Design teaching subjects included Adobe Photoshop, Quark Xpress and Microsoft Office (for Key Skills).


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