Life Of McBrian

Based on Jez Coulson’s Easterhouse Crucifixion 1987


Life of McBrian depicts a small boy in the Easterhouse district of Glasgow in 1987, and is created with the kind retrospective permission of Jez Coulson.

A familiar sight to the artist, who grew up in Drumchapel, the boy is pictured on top of a tenement washing pole, and the image calls to mind both the nostalgia of a bygone era, and the stark reality of urban poverty in Glasgow. The figure of a child from the past represents ‘Yesterday’s Tomorrow’ and is about the hopes and dreams we all have, as well as the freedom of childhood imagination.

The original photograph shows a rubble and litter-strewn ground that is a harsh landscape for a child to make his playground. However John has portrayed the ground, right up to the tenement railings, as a beautiful meadow.

The painting is mainly in black and white, but in the right foreground is a burst of vibrant colour, as the flowers are painted in lush primary tones of red, yellow and blue. It reminds us that where there is Life there is Hope. Visually it also calls to mind the colour of the flicker of flame if you burn a black and white photograph. But the emergence of colour in the painting is like a ‘burning’ that is creative rather than destructive, as though nature, life and vibrancy are allowed to burn through the surface of drab reality.

The Original painting is available
Size 150 x 120 cm / 5 ft x 4 ft
Acrylic on Canvas

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COPYRIGHT © by John McDonald. All rights reserved by the artist. Any and all publishing and reproduction rights are retained solely by the artist. This image is not to be re-distributed, copied, imitated or misappropriated without written consent of the artist.