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Keith Harrop

I was born in the city of Stoke-On-Trent, England. I grew up in a very loving home. My parents, neither of whom were artists, nevertheless both encouraged me in my interest in art. I spent almost every night drawing and painting.

I found this easy because Stoke seemed a dull and dreary place  and it always seemed to be raining anyway and there were only three channels on the Telly (TV). So I made my own world and designed characters and storylines for my little comic books.  I would 'publish' these on time, every week, to my audience of one - my older brother Steve.

We were poor. But it's very odd, because I never actually realized that we were until many years later. I know that sounds odd. But we were so loved and cared for by our parents that it was never relevant. We just accepted what we had. And my imagination did the rest. It was only when I was older and started seeing how other people lived that I realized the difference in lifestyles.

I didn't have much in the way of artists tools. A few colored pens and pencils. No sketch books. So I would spend a lot of time drawing on the back long pieces of old rolled up wall paper. I fondly remember a book that my Dad lovingly made for me. He made it at work. The pages were blank on one side and old print on the other.  A cardboard cover and shoe laces holding it together. I filled that book.

I packed my creative side away as I grew older. England has a way of doing that to you.

I eventually emigrated to beautiful Santa Barbara in the United States in 1988. I rekindled my love for painting as part of my need to reconnect with my old self. It's odd what will come out of your head after it's been bottled away for so many years.