Diz Wallis disliked school. The feeling was mutual. She spent much of her time in disgrace, in her dilapidated greenhouse at the end of the garden. There she would concoct noxious potions and draw peculiar things.
During her formative years of ‘greenhouse meditations’ she also developed her passion for the ingenious workings of nature; a passion she shared with her father, the late Wing Commander Ken Wallis. He was a brilliant and instinctive aviator and inventor and it was the exquisite skill he demonstrated in creating the world’s smallest firing pistols which would inspire Diz to work in such detail.
Diz and her mother, Peggy, who was also an artist, would often escape together on ‘junkets’. These adventures took them all over Sussex and involved visits to junk shops, tea rooms and other places of interest. A particular favourite was Walter Potter’s wonderful museum at Bramber. It housed a unique collection of stuffed animals in glass cases, depicting scenes such as card playing squirrels and a rats’ gambling den. This was a most absorbing world which had a lasting effect on her work.
Diz’s artistic interests led her to The Central School of Art and Design in 1970’s. She had a very long and successful career in advertising and illustration. Subsequently, Diz has written and illustrated over 30 books for children.
After living for many years in Cambridge, Diz has returned to Sussex and is enjoying growing old disgracefully. Far from fading into obscurity, she feels that her age has released her from society’s expectations and consequently she is enjoying the freedom to work on whatever brings her joy. Diz is still preoccupied with the wildlife in her garden and spends much of her time documenting their “goings on”. In addition to her art, Diz continues to write and loves nothing better than telling a good story in front of a fire.
Diz Wallis and her company
Diz Wallis Art, is now a family business and Diz is assisted by her daughter Chloe and son-in-law Neil. Together they run the website and mount and dispatch the prints, all from their garden studio in deepest Hampshire.
The first incarnation of the website www.filthybeasts.com won the Fine Art Trade Guild’s Website of the Year 2018 and focused on Diz’s collection of humorous anthropomorphic art. With www.dizwallisart.com, launched in Spring 2022, Diz now shares more of her work, including: natural history, illustrations and pen and ink drawings.