They say I was born in Glasgow just after the end of the great colonial war, when everything was coloured khaki and nothing cost much more than life, if there was anything to buy at all. (I once heard about a pomegranate, but I never believed it). A very long-haired student at the Glasgow School of Art sometime in the sixties, I learned perseverance and an unrequited love of drawing. It has just been one damn thing after another since then, though I seldom, if ever, exhibit nowadays.
Like many children, I suppose, my first conscious response to the world was that of a scientist. Living in a tiny flat on the top floor of a tenement in central Glasgow, there wasn’t huge scope for experiment. Still, I collected, categorised and catalogued a variety of leaves, berries, snail shells and interesting stones. I helped organise my grandfather’s collection of cigarette cards.
Untitled drawing 2017, ink, enamel, wate
I measured everything and made countless maps and plans. Pocketsful of shells were brought back from summer visits to the beach at Ardrossan, Largs or Wemyss Bay, curiously shaped bits of metal or pieces of glass collected from the bomb sites we all played on. I even had a collection of tar balls prised from the busy road outside our tenement block, softened by the heat at the height of the occasionally hot summer. Somewhat later, at school, I realised that the careful drawings I made of my collections, and my maps and plans, had slipped into a hitherto unimagined category called Art.