Tributes paid to an award-winning artist from Romford

�A Romford artist who created some of the most celebrated work of his time will be remembered as “making sense of the world through his drawings.”

Malcolm Fowler, 68, was well known for his artwork and the many advertising campaigns he was involved in, including work for Saatchi and Saatchi.

Described as a “true gentleman,” he died on January 18 – after a two-year battle with pancreatic cancer – at St John’s Hospice, in London.

Malcolm was born in Romford and grew up living in Spring Gardens.

He left school when he was 14 to study art at East Essex Technical College and School of Art.

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He later worked as an art director for advertising agencies including Leo Burnetts and J Walter Thompson, before he set up Shirt Sleeve Studio, a model-making and illustration studio, with his wife Nancy Fouts in the 1960s.

His work included campaigns for Benson & Hedges for Collett, Dickinson and Pearce and Silk Cut for Saatchi and Saatchi.

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In 1973 Shirt Sleeve Studio won the D&AD Gold Award, one of the highest accolades for design and art direction, for the best artwork.

In 1974 the V&A bought a selection of his and Nancy’s work and in 1975 their design for Steeleye Span’s Commoner’s Crown won the best sleeve award for Music Week.


One of their most celebrated works was the Tate Gallery by Tube poster in 1986 for the Fine White Line agency. It shows a Tube map created in oil paint squeezed from a tube.

They lived in Mornington Crescent, Camden, with their sons Bo and Ben. Malcolm and Nancy divorced in 1995 and Shirt Sleeve Studio closed.

He spent time in France and created paintings and drawings entitled Fowler in France.

He also illustrated and wrote a children’s book called Conde the Comet with his son Bo before he fell ill.

When he was in London he lived in Primrose Hill with his partner Glen McDougall.

She said in tribute to him: “Malcolm was a wonderful, immensely talented man, kind, caring and very thoughtful.

“He was always truly interested in others and in life itself and had a quirky sense of humour.

“He was passionate about things and threw himself into everything he did and was always encouraging to others.

“As an artist Malcolm approached everything he did, even when it wasn’t prestigious, with huge enthusiasm and enjoyed every aspect of his work enormously.”

His brother Peter, who lives in Sims Close, Romford, said he and Malcolm shared a passion for motorbikes and the Essex countryside.

He said his brother loved visiting Romford almost every weekend and they would also go for walks with the Brentwood Trax walking group.

Peter added: “Everything he did was with great enthusiasm.

“He would help everybody and anybody and no one had a bad word to say about him. Malcolm was a true gentleman with old-fashioned manners.”

His ex-wife Nancy Foutes said: “No words can express my feelings about Malcolm except he was kind, gentle and gracious.”

His friend, artist Gerry Judah, added: “Malcolm was a lovely man. He was very calm and very kind.

“He was one of the most talented artists I have ever met. He was extremely generous with his time and was always willing to help other people.

“Though he was my competition he never made me feel like it.”

Malcolm’s funeral service was held at Rosslyn Hill Unitarian Chapel, in Hampstead, on February 3. He was cremated at the West London Crematorium on February 4.

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