John Byrne RSA

About the artist - John Byrne RSA

John Byrne RSA (b.1940) is a Scottish artist and playwright. He wrote and directed plays including the Slab Boys and the television series Tutti Frutti and is author of the children’s book Donald and Benoit. His artwork often depicts the characters of Ferguslie Park, Paisley where he grew up.

John Byrne was born in Paisley in 1940 and studied at Glasgow School of Art from 1958 to 1963. Since graduating he has made a remarkable contribution to Scottish arts and culture through his varied career as a prolific illustrator, painter, printmaker and writer.  In 1967 he had his first successful exhibition in London of faux-naïf images under the pseudonym ‘Patrick’, claiming they were created by his father.  He illustrated jackets for Penguin Books and record covers for the Beatles, Billy Connolly and the late Gerry Rafferty.  The six-time BAFTA award-winning 1980s television series Tutti Frutti starring Robbie Coltrane, Emma Thompson and Richard Wilson is one of his most notable written creations.  Drawing upon his pre-artschool experiences in the colour-mixing room of a 1950s carpet factory in Paisley, The Slab Boys written in 1978 is named by the National Library of Scotland as one of the 12 key works of the last 40 years.

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