Born in Craigmillar, Edinburgh which is often seen as a poor area. In fact, my introduction to art was through the Craigmillar Festival Society, so my childhood memories are full of Community Arts events that involved festivals, drama, music, clowns, colour and laughter.
I trained as an illustrator at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art in Dundee, then on a MA Design course at Glasgow School of Art. My professional life started off in London working for Everything But The Girl, New Musical Express, The Observer, Timeout, Goodhousekeeping. Through Design Agencies developed into large scale murals in busy High Streets across the UK for Midland Bank around building sites. These murals were often the history of cities, towns or places.
This then developed into more artworks in public and community settings, the longest being around The Spindles Shooping Centre in Oldham which was a quarter of mile. Since then I have been fortunate to have been involved with many mural projects around the world. I have become involved with a range of book publications, multimedia events, festivals and educational programmes.
I was the mural Convenor for The Prestonpans Murals Programme until 2012, which now has over 50 public arts.
In 2009 I designed and drew The Battle of Prestonpans Tapestry, since then I have been involved in a further 20 tapestries. In 2021 saw the opening of The Great Tapestry of Scotland building in Galashiels.
In 2023 received an MBE, Honorary Doctorate of Laws from Dundee University and a Fletcher of Saltoun Award from The Saltire Society for contribution to Scottish Public Life.
I still illustrate the occassional book, paint skyscapes, murals, portraits and of course draw with a 2B pencil.
Interview with writer and friend Lorraine Thomson