I’ve worked in the Scottish creative industries for just over ten years – ever since I left school after sitting my Highers. I was going to go to university at one point, but I chose not to. I’m a self-taught film-maker, writer and graphic designer, and that path suited me just fine. Everybody’s different.
My main business is AND / OR Productions, which is a Glasgow-based TV and video production company – but I’m a man with fingers in many pies (chortle)!
I’ve always enjoyed being creative. Some of my earliest photos show me with a paintbrush in hand. I was quite shy as a wee boy (and into my teenage years), so art was one way for me to properly express myself.
One day, I decided to be very creative by giving my Dad’s exotic fish a foam party with the addition of some Fairy Liquid to their aquarium! Let’s just say that the art installation didn’t turn out too well (unless it could’ve been considered an ad for said washing-up liquid’s potency and longevity; other brands are available).
I drew and painted – a lot. In the house. At school. At an art club on a Saturday. In the house. You get the picture.
I also loved making anything and everything with Lego bricks, which would take up most of our living room during the usually wet Summer holidays from school.
So, Scotland isn’t that good at weather. If ye didnae have yer wellies, and all that.
I’ve always supported independence for Scotland – at least since I really knew what it was all about (from mid-primary). In the 1997 mock elections held at Clydebank High, I voted for the party that supported independence. And we won. As a young teenager, I was beginning to understand that a country should be in complete control of its own destiny. It’s such a simple premise, and one that most nations haven’t had to think about since the fall of the colonial empires.
Creativity is one of many things that Scotland excels at. From the minds of our greatest inventors over the centuries, who brought the world so many inventions that we all now fully take for granted – to our present-day talent and their work. Everyone from actors, to musicians, to writers, and more.
Scotland is already a hub for the creative industries, especially the new media industry – from games design, to TV production, to the Web. I think our country does well to support its creative talent, but it could do more. For example, by offering more tax breaks to film-makers, and enticing companies to build larger studios and better facilities, we can encourage more features to be made here – both independent and Hollywood.
I originally wanted to be an architect, but I moved more and more towards graphics, after studying Higher Art & Design. In 2002, on leaving school, I set up a new media agency with the help of the Prince’s Scottish Youth Business Trust (now Youth Business Scotland). I then began to learn video production. The rest is history, and I continue to develop in myself as a multi-disciplinary ‘creative.’
I joined the National Collective, because it’s my generation, and those slightly younger than me, that have that youthful energy to take Scotland to the next level. I’m feeling slightly less than youthful as a 28-and-a-quarter-year-old, actually, but it’s fantastic to be part of a collective with such a positive mindset!
I recently became a Member of the Children’s Panel. I genuinely believe that a lot of children experiencing problems at home, school, or elsewhere within their own lives, could thrive by experiencing the arts as a diversion. But we need much more investment to achieve that goal. It’s simply not possible at the moment.
I was lucky. I was encouraged at every stage of my life. Sadly, not every child has that. I see it as a right for everyone, not a privilege for the few. Across the globe, every culture has their art. As they say, the arts are the barometer of civilisation.