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When Peter Pinson was a student at North Sydney Boys High in the 1950s, art was not taught at this selective school. However a change in the school curriculum meant that from 1962 onwards all NSW school children would learn art and as a result many school leavers, including Pinson, were offered scholarships to train as high school art teachers.
After completing his studies in art at East Sydney Technical College and Sydney Teachers College he was employed as an art teacher at Bathurst High.
In 1964, his last year as a student, Pinson was awarded the watercolour prize in Sydney’s Mirror-Waratah Festival. He was encouraged to develop his art further, and the landscape around Bathurst became the subject of paintings he developed for the NSW Travelling Art Scholarship, which he was awarded in 1968.
In London Pinson completed a Masters at the Royal College of Art. While he was in London Pinson became interested in Zen Buddhism, which was to become a significant influence on the way he approached art.
On his return to Australia in 1971, Pinson taught at Wollongong Institute of Education before being appointed as Senior Education Officer at the National Gallery of Victoria.
In 1977 he returned to Sydney as a senior lecturer in art in the innovative art education program at the Alexander Mackie College of Advanced Education. In 1991 when the college joined the University of New South Wales and was renamed College of Fine Arts, Pinson was appointed as an Associate Professor and was later promoted to Professor.
Pinson was a thoughtful and supportive teacher, encouraging many artists at the start of their careers. His own art continued to show the influence of his London years, with intensely coloured works that reflected both his pleasure in the small details of domestic life and his love of visual and verbal puns.
In 1986 he was appointed Offical Military Artist, an appointment that led him to visit military bases around Australia. The appointment led him to look again at the work the Surrealist Eric Thake had painted during in World War II. He saw similarities between his whimsical approach to art and that of Thake.
Pinson preferred to work on paper, using water based acrylics. His interest in the medium led him to join the Australian Watercolour Institute, and in 2003 he was elected President.
In his years at the College of Fine Arts Pinson also curated a number of exhibitions on distinguished Australian artists, many of whom were colleagues and friends. On his retirement he established an art gallery in Woollahra where he exhibited the work of many of his former colleagues and friends.
In 2014 the gallery closed and Pinson spent his last years concentrating on his own art, described by David van Nunen as being “characterised by emphatic design; painterly surfaces; a generally subtle palette offset with passages of pungent colour; flatness; and a feeling for pattern that relates to synthetic cubism and art deco posters.”

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