George Somerville

High Flyers - White Frame by George Somerville
Follow Your Heart - White Frame by George Somerville
Young At Heart by George Somerville
Bark And Ride by George Somerville
On The Town III by George Somerville
On The Town II by George Somerville
On The Town I by George Somerville
Carried Away (Balloon) by George Somerville
Live For Today (Bikes) by George Somerville
The Personal Trainer by George Somerville
The Downhill Challenge (Soapbox) by George Somerville
Love Is All Around by George Somerville
You Cant Hurry Love (Couple) by George Somerville
King Of Hearts by George Somerville
Happiness is the one word (although there are many more besides) which readily springs to mind when viewing a George Somerville work of art. Togetherness, tight-knit, community spirit and belonging are just a small selection of those others, which equally trip off the tongue. We like to think of Somerville’s work as being somewhere between L S Lowry (for obvious reasons) and, possible, his contemporary artistic peer, Doug Hyde. Only with far less hearts and teddy bears; yet an equivalent sense of contentment and general sunnyness abound. People piggy-backing and leap-frogging one another, returning from social gathering trailing balloons, flying kites, riding home-manufactured go-karts and riding bikes here and there. And that’s just the industrialised men folk!

But then industrialised men folk form the illustrative backbone of Somerville’s impressive portfolio, and is systematically forged from his own past, and his formative years spent growing up in Glasgow, Scotland. Born in 1947 to a resolutely working class Glaswegian family, money was, it’s fair to say, tight in the Somerville household, which was highlighted when future contemporary landscape and figurative artist, Somerville showed a desire to attend art school so as to further explore and develop his budding creative talents which had been fostered and nurtured during his schooldays. Sadly this wasn’t to be at that juncture, as he belonged to a wider family with mouths to feed and clothes to buy.

As hinted at above, the backdrop of Somerville’s childhood was daubed in 1950s Industrial Greys and Steels, where foundries, factories and steel works stood shoulder to shoulder with each other, jostling for attention amid an imposing skyline constructed on blood, sweat, toil and tears. An urban landscape which is no more, yet one which serves as the once preoccupied vistas of Somerville’s signature graphical work. These streets were always alive, always bustling and productive in one sense or another, and the over-riding feeling of community during this vintage is never better illustrated than in a Somerville study.

Over time the artist’s visual concentration on and placing of the characters replaced the heavily graphic-woven presence of an industrial dinosaur; characters – to a man- encapsulated this wealth of joy enriched by social events played out within this most traditional of communities and which gave us an insight into the otherwise industrious and erstwhile working man at ease; enjoying his leisure time in the company of fellow, like-minded men. All fabulously be-decked in stereotypical muted brown off-duty suits teamed with the almost-uniformed flat cap which was found at the very fabric of this society.

Although Somerville didn’t receive the formal training in his chosen art at his first time of asking, he did however finally attend art college in 1965; winning a place at the prestigious Glasgow School of Art, from where he graduated in 1969. Thereafter he secured gainful employment with several advertising agencies in the city, a more mainstream and commercial career that he pursued for a number of successive years, before electing to continue on a more freelance basis. Eventually Somerville gave it all up to take a chance on becoming a full-time professional artist. Having said that, it wasn’t really that much of a calculated gamble as he had been painting for pleasure all the time; taking him from his adolescence right through into his adulthood.

Somerville quickly began to carve out a niche for himself with his art and subsequently make something of a name for himself, which resulted in local and regional galleries north of the border sitting up and taking note of this (seemingly) new kid on the contemporary art block. Having lived and worked in Glasgow for the most part of his life, Somerville relocated to a small fishing village situated on the east coast of Scotland, and his individual work and collections have gone on to form part of many private and corporate collections, whilst he regularly exhibits throughout the UK and much further a field; including southern France and northern Canada in recent times.

When asked to describe his style, Somerville claims that it starts out as spontaneous and very loose and fluid in form, and that once he determines his subject matter it explodes onto the canvas in a frenzy of activity. What’s more, Somerville often relies on a recurrent visual anchor to his primary pieces, with ‘Scruffy’ the dog evident in many leading pictorials. Examining early influence and inspirational artistic innovators, Somerville readily cites many, yet we have the classic comic books and graphic novels for being prominent in leading him down the fine art path, which he recalls being his favourite reading material as a child.

Somerville has recently created a selection of sculptures too, which capture some of his most iconic two-dimensional scenes in this re-imagined 3D glory; typically his men on bikes and the leap-frogging duo thus far, with more set to follow.

View All Art Works By George Somerville