Peter Gibson obituary
My husband, Peter Gibson, who has died aged 78, was a talented artist, visual arts lecturer, musician and documentary film-maker, as well as a self-taught master embroiderer. He described himself as a “creativist”. For more than 40 years, he was the vocalist, trombonist and percussionist of the blues band Brett Marvin and the Thunderbolts.
Peter was born in Kendal, Cumbria, to Irene (nee Lowry), a musician and music teacher, and John Gibson, master mariner in the Merchant Navy. After schooling in Gravesend, Dover and the Wirral, Peter gained an art and teaching degree at Liverpool College of Art in 1965.
His first teaching post was at the Thomas Bennett school in Crawley, West Sussex. In 1966 he married Jane Couzens, and in 1968 the Thunderbolts were formed.
That year, too, Peter was awarded a Kodak scholarship to study on the postgraduate film course at the Slade School of Fine Art in London. There he met Alex Hooper, a fellow student, and together they produced two film documentaries about the blues musician John Mayall: The Turning Point (1969) and John Mayall, Godfather of British Blues (2004, commissioned by BBC4).
From 1971 to 1976, Peter was visual arts lecturer in drawing, painting and film studies at Loughborough College of Art and Design, where he formed the Celebrated Artists band with staff and students. He met and became firm friends with the record producer Tom Newman (and in 2008 they made the album Join Together). The family moved to Brighton, and Peter became head of foundation studies at West Sussex College of Art and Design.
After separating from Jane, Peter performed with the avant-garde Pip Simmons Theatre Group, travelling throughout Europe from 1979 until 1982. He also photographed container ships in seaports, developing his own unique style of painting the marine giants. Peter and Jane divorced in 1983.
He had returned to the UK in 1982. Three years later he married Lisbeth Hansen, and they settled in Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex. They divorced in 2006.
Peter was appointed head of the Docklands area for Tower Hamlets adult education service and helped to raise £300,000 for cultural and educational projects in the borough. One of these was Gor Hoi, a multimedia performance project with Chinese and Vietnamese communities during the 1987 London international festival of theatre.
In 1992, Peter instigated the art foundation course at the Shadwell adult learning centre, in east London. This assisted people who had very few opportunities to gain a qualification in order to attend degree courses. I met Peter in 2000 while studying on this life-changing course, and we were married in 2015.
Over the course of half a century, Peter customised 30 denim jackets with hand embroidery, an artform he called “jacketing”, and, in 2019, they were shown as a collection at Fabrications in east London.
Peter is survived by me, two daughters Jo and Kate, from his marriage to Jane, and a daughter, Amy, and son, Glen, from his marriage to Lisbeth, two grandchildren, Jake and Charlotte, and a great-grandchild, Luna.