From Sign Maker to Turner Prize nominee.
Whilst trying to decide which direction in life to take, and which career path to follow, my brother Jim worked as a sign maker with the family business to make a bit of extra money. Later he decided to return via further education to Glasgow school of art with the hope that someday he may become an artist. At work he enjoyed messing around with all the different materials we use daily, coming up with some weird and wonderful designs and suggestions, some were “off the wall” others more acceptable and some absolutely amazing.
In the year 2000, with his permission, we entered a floor design by Jim in the MACtac Design Awards, it got third place, this was in itself a great result since it wasn’t a sign but merely the clever use of adhesive-backed vinyl assembled in such a way as to be aesthetically outstanding! Having recognized his artistic potential Beverley Riding of MACtac and Frank Moran of Europoint Display both sponsored various shows by Jim, who was by the time getting plaudits in the art world and was being sought after all over Europe for shared and solo exhibitions. His name and popularity was growing. The TATE Gallery in London saw his work and booked him to put on a show in both London and St Ives. Both shows were hugely successful. Today he has agents in Glasgow, London, Italy and New York and has solo pieces in places like Japan, Beverly Hills, Greece, Helsinki etc.
On the 2nd of June 2005, Jim was nominated for the Turner Prize which is one of, if not the highest and most prestigious awards in the world of art, he has been described by the “people who know” as “endlessly inventive”. If this article carries a hint of pride with it, that is because I am very proud of what he has achieved. Long gone are the days of when I was doing my apprenticeship were he would teach me how to weed and tape up graphics, run our old steam-driven Gerber 4B vinyl cutter and tell me to get tea on for lunch.
There are only four nominees, The Turner prize winner will be announced live on TV on December 5th London. Fingers crossed!
Images shown are of a recent show in the TATE Modern Gallery London. The floor designs are made up of thousands of “individual” strips of vinyl, varying from 5mm to 50mm in width laid separately one by one. Starting from the parameter of a room, working all the way round & back to the beginning. Then, changing colour and repeating, continuing until they reach the centre of the room. Typical floor installation like the one shown would have taken a team of four 4-5 days. Sore knees or what?