George Somervilles’s nostalgic subject matter grew out of a desire to paint the memories of his Glaswegian childhood in the industrial fifties. He wanted to recreate the places and people where he had grown up; the foundries, factories and steel works which have now disappeared from the urban landscape. As his work progressed however, he found that the characters were taking over, and that the industrial background became less important. In his latest collection, any industrial reference is minimal and the personalities take centre stage.
George was born in Glasgow in 1947. There was a great atmosphere in Glasgow at the time, and the streets were always busy. But most of all, the time and place was characterised by a strong sense of community. His father was a foundry worker, and when he was growing up, money was in short supply. His artistic talent was obvious from an early age, but the expense of art college was an unthinkable luxury when there was a family to support.
Despite his lack of official training, George continued to paint for pleasure into adulthood, and began to display his work in a variety of Scottish galleries. George describes his style as spontaneous. Once he has a subject in mind he tends to paint in a frenzy of activity in a bold linear style. He cites a range of influences on this distinctive approach, not the least of which is the classic comics and graphic novels which were his favoured reading material as a child.
Having lived and worked in Glasgow for most of his life, George now has a studio in a small fishing village on the East coast of Scotland. His work is now on display in numerous private and corporate collections from Southern France to Northern Canada.