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Introduction. Profile. The Scott Carruthers Collection.

Scott Carruthers.

History & Background.

I was born in New Zealand in 1975 where my parents had emigrated two years previously. Later that year we moved back to England, so unfortunately I have no recollection of the country whatsoever! After a short spell in London where my family are originally from, we moved to Norwich where I eventually grew up and lived for nearly 30 years. In late 2005 I moved to Perth, Scotland, where I am now based full time. I am from a large, close family who all still live in and around Norwich, but moving to Perth, although not easy, was one of the best decisions I ever made.

From as early as I can remember, I have always been interested in drawing. Most of it was done on the bedroom floor with my older brother, coming up with different ideas of what kind of series of pictures to draw next. The one that always springs to mind are a series of pencil drawings that we created of people, each person had their own name, identity and characteristics. If we weren’t drawing then we would be building numerous vehicles from our extensive, yet totally random Lego collection!

Later on I had a ‘thing’ for drawing portraits of iconic faces. I was always one for copying photos, mainly figurative and portraiture, this however never went down well with my art teacher who said I would never get anywhere by copying! That was fair enough but it wasn't like I was trying to break down any barriers in the art world! I just wanted to draw what I liked and to finesse any skills I might have had.

Not being one who took too well to any kind of academia (I spent most of my time day-dreaming and living in "Scott World") College and University wasn’t really an option for me, neither was it particularly encouraged. I wanted to get a proper job, not that getting a job seemed any more appealing than College! I still kept drawing as a hobby and have always been interested in art.

I indulged in various "proper jobs”, eventually making a living as a paint sprayer in the car trade. It had it's moments throughout those years but to be honest, I'm relieved to have come out of that knowing I have avoided the inevitability of morphing into one of the older stereotypical garage workers that I had worked alongside for so long!

A few years ago now, there was a change in my personal situation and that's when I first decided to start painting again, providing me with a focus in my spare time. I went into an art shop, not really knowing what all the materials were, but with assistance I managed to get what I needed.

I started working with portraiture, originally just for myself, but the more people that saw them, the more demand there was. I had a spell of doing commissions mainly of peoples’ kids and the odd famous face. This was all good but it was too restrictive and I wanted to produce paintings that made people connect with them, not just visually, but with their psyche too.

That has lead me to where I am now, painting what I have begun to call Nostalgic Observations.

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Ideas & Inspirations.

My paintings are largely inspired by a mix of nostalgia from my own childhood along with watching my own two young kids grow up. Not necessarily making any comparisons, but being reminded of the nostalgic years and how their life today differs in these modern times, yet in many ways mirrors my own childhood.

An idea for a painting can come from anywhere really. Usually from a memory or experience of when I was young or by observing something my kids might do. I try to imagine what’s going on in their heads, and wonder what they are thinking, and this sometimes triggers similar thoughts that I may have had at the same age. I then want to put these memories and stories into an image. Although my kids provide the majority of inspiration for my work, some paintings have also been influenced by a particular song, by something I have seen or read in the news or a conversation I have had or heard, all relating to childhood and particularly the comparisons with differing generations.

I’m not sure how I came about making the paintings look the way they do. I know I wanted it to be very simple, yet have something significant happening in them. Keeping the landscape plain and white means there is no outside interference with the essence of the narrative. The focus is then solely on the characters themselves, all the same (as though they could easily just be the one person,) yet all painted as individuals.

I have been influenced and have admired work by many painters in the past, most notably that of Andy Warhol and Jackson Pollock.

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From Palette to Picture.

I work in acrylics, mainly because I always have done, but I find the medium suits my style of painting best. It’s fast drying which means I can just get on with it, but I can manipulate it enough to get the desired look and effect. I begin by applying a few thick coats of white to the canvas to get a nice fresh background, then after drawing each figure and applying their shadows, basic colour to their clothing and skin tone is added. Later shading to the clothing and skin as well as the hair colour is also added. The composition of the figures is pretty much made up as I go along, although the main focal characters have usually been predetermined on where they will be placed. Any further details are added at the very end, most of which is usually added to the main subject matter in the paintings, this is the most enjoyable part for me!

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A day in the Life of...

It's a Monday, a typical day, and I'm woken up by the unwelcome sound of the radio alarm. The morning consists of getting up and having a cup of tea whilst my partner and two kids get ready to go to work and school, my involvement consists of making sure they get there which sees me partake in my other "job" as an unpaid chauffeur! Upon returning home I head for the kitchen for more tea before starting work in my studio, I will have to use this term loosely as it can only really be described as, a room! The television is switched on in the background for some company or sometimes some music, either of which is a necessity rather than a distraction. Once I'm painting I can stay at it for a good few hours at a time and it is only usually interrupted by my own choosing. When it's time to pick up the family though, this is the start of my official break.

Messing about with the kids, helping with their homework and then having dinner together and hearing about their day is all part of midweek life and depending on mood or workload, I may or may not get back to more painting in the evening. More often that not though I will pour a glass of red wine and crack on!

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