About Bob Haberfield
About Bob Haberfield.
He was an exceptional, naturally gifted creative talent. He had an artistic flare that is rarely found, and he quickly mastered what ever he turned his hand to.
He was born in Sydney Australia into a musical family who would spend their evenings sitting around the piano singing songs. Music was bobs first love and he always had music playing loud in his art studio. At an early age bob was a gifted singer and his mum would ask him to sing to her friends which he used to do standing outside the living room window because he was too shy to sing In front of them. It wasn’t long before he over came his nerves and got a job singing in a dance hall on the weekends.
He also had a natural ability at drawing and painting and was mentored by Clifton Pew as well as getting a job in a graphic design studio. He also took up the flamenco guitar. He very quickly started to outshine all his creative teachers, becoming one of the best flamenco guitarists in Australia at the time and a very promising fine art painter, while making a very good living as a graphic artists. But he was also starting to feel pressured into deciding on one path to follow but he was conflicted as to which to choose.
After a short spell living in Paris he moved to England with his then pregnant wife. It was in England that he first encountered a Buddhist group who provided him with the answer he had been looking for, “do nothing” they told him.
By now he had started illustrating the book covers for Michael Moorcocks books, which is what he he is most known for. So he moved up to wales to live with the Buddhist group and became fascinated by the Buddhist teachings, he gave up the guitar and painting but continued to illustrate the book covers because it earned him and the group their only income and Bob was given the freedom to design the covers as he wanted, so he filled them with the teachings he was learning and the visions he had while meditating.
Although Buddhism brought on the decent into his darkest days. He never lost his faith in the teachings of Buddhism and read everything he thought worthy on the subject. But when he finally managed to over come his demons, he became the most beautiful man I have ever known. Who radiated warmth and compassion, and only saw the beauty in everything around him. He had found the peace he had been looking for for so many years and when death finally came calling for him he was ready for it and had absolutely no fear of it.
He returned to Australia for a few years in the late 70’s But returned again to London to be nearer his 12 year old son who Bob had not seen since he was 3 years old. He only visited Australia 2 more times after that each for a couple of weeks.
On his return to the Uk, he moved into a squat in Manchester with the same buddhist group, where he stayed for many years until he eventually bought his first house in Trefriw, Wales. He a large extension built, that became his art studio, where he spent his days painting and looking out over the fantastic view it offered over the Conwy Valley.
He continued working as an illustrator because it paid the bills, and he also painted for himself, never feeling the need to show his work to anybody, that way he never felt any pressure to conform to any conventional ideas with his own art, he painted exactly what he wanted to paint with out the need to care what others thought.
He was a solitary man, who was comfortable with his own company, He had quite an illustrious illustration career where he became well known for his fruit illustrations. in the eighties he did lots of work for Sainsbury’s, Woolworths and Liptons tea.
When he eventually retired from illustration work, he became much happier and his style became much freer. His illustrations had caused him a lot of tension because of the concentration it took to create such detailed pieces. He felt artistically reborn and took up the piano to fulfil that passion he’d had known as a young man creating music with his guitar. His painting expressed the new found creative joy he had rediscover.
In his 80’s he slowed down, he would tell me that he felt that he had said and expressed all he felt he needed to with his art. He got more enjoyment from other peoples creativity and from reading, he especially loved reading anything he could find by Tagore.
Bob Died quickly and unexpectedly, for which he would have been grateful, quality of life was far more important to him that Quantity.
One of the last projects my father worked on was to catalogue his favourite paintings, this website will become a continuation of that catalogue, the master collection. Because it will contain all the work that Bob Haberfield kept. There are of course long periods particularly his 20’s and early 30’s where the work he did is either lost, sold or had been given away.