Right now, Scotland is the home of some of the most exciting and diverse artists on the scene today. From lively city scapes to surrealism and humor, this is a list of 10 Scottish artists you need to know about.
Iain Faulkner – Working from Glasgow where he was born and raised, Iain Faulkner graduated with a BA (Honors) Degree in Fine Art from the Glasgow School of Art. His work reflects a diligence that’s not often seen in popular contemporary art. His figurative pieces depict a real draughtsmanship in capturing a moment exquisitely. The subjects are elegant, yet believable, that you could break into their bubble of frozen time and not feel uncomfortable. Faulkner’s work is technically proficient, yet unpretentious.
Peter Howson – You can measure an artist’s success by a lot of different things, and one of those things is how their paintings can resonate with an audience. Peter Howson’s work is affecting for many because of the epic nature of his work. With a past chequered with substance abuse and a rather hedonistic lifestyle, Howson was able to connect with the extremes of humanity. These extremes have helped to create imagery that is powerful, and explores the nakedness of emotion and experience.
Blythe Scott – Artists have a magical ability to make us see something different in the everyday world around us. This is certainly true of Blythe Scott. Scott’s ability to see the personality in architecture means that it’s not just buildings we’re seeing, but living, breathing streets and cities. It’s no surprise that growing up in Glasgow has given the artist a rich vocabulary of subjects to draw from, from the smallest architectural detail to the houses in a winding street.
Jack Vettriano – Perhaps one of the most commercially successful contemporary artists alive today, Jack Vettriano’s paintings show us a world of handsome men, beautiful women and the world they populate. His work has a Film Noir sensibility, delving into a sometimes clandestine world of torrid affairs. It’s easy to see why Vettriano’s work has attained such broad popularity, if at the expense of critical acceptance from certain quarters.
David Shrigley – Calling David Shrigley an artist doesn’t really seem to cover it. Surrealist, humourist, multi media film maker, David Shrigley would be almost insufferable, if he weren’t so darned funny! His work has been successful in ranges of stationery, books and animations, all with his rather silly, yet insightful, comedy touches. It’s impossible not to chuckle at Shrigley’s brand of nonsense, then wonder how his mind works to create it.
Avril Paton – Avril Paton is an artist that also gets her inspiration from the historic streets of Glasgow, which has been her home since the early 80s. It is the attention to detail that pulls us into Paton’s art. However she depicts not only the architectural beauty of the Victorian and Edwardian townhouses of the city, but its inhabitants too. The rich backdrop of these environs offer up a collection of pieces that give you an insight into this busy metropolis.
Hamish Blakely – The figurative works of Hamish Blakely very much echo a time of glamour and elegance. To the casual observer, there are comparisons that can be drawn with Jack Vettriano, but that would be something of a lazy comparison. The sensuality is there certainly, however Blakely seems to celebrate a sense of vitality and prosperity, which is certainly true of the artist’s interpretation of the 1920′s and 30′s. His expression of sexuality too is vividly represented by the stunning work featuring latin dancing.
Alexander Millar – The memories of stocky men smoking rough Woodbine cigarettes and their rather sturdy wives has never left the Alexander Millar; this enduring image of the Scottish working classes continues to drive each piece. It is an attempt to tell tales of the past, of a time when these working men – known locally as ‘gadgies’ – would cycle to work to toil in the factories of Britain’s industrious past. This authentic telling of work and life is even more poignant today as our world changes.
Claire Wills – There’s a freshness and vitality to Claire Wills’ work. Colour, light and energy make of these incredible landscapes burst into view. There’s no muting of tone, and you can see how Wills is sharing her celebration of the natural world and our place in it. It is a happy symbiosis between nature and humanity, as humble dwellings and buildings are integral to the scene without upstaging the landscape. The artist channels a real joy into her paintings.
George Somerville – As with the paintings by Alexander Millar, George Somerville’s work is also tinged with nostalgia around the working men of his youth. Although the subject matter might have a similar foundation, Somerville has a more energetic style. This is due to his other boyhood influence of comic books, which gives his characters a real dynamism. They’re not superheroes, but they are captured doing one of the most heroic things a human can do – enjoy life even when it seems tough.
The Enid Hutt Gallery is one of the largest retailers of Scottish artworks, including the likes of Jack Vettriano prints