Scottish painter. He was born at Helensburgh, near Dumbarton, and studied at *Glasgow School of Art, 1982–7. Even before starting his postgraduate year (1986–7), he had achieved considerable success, and he was soon being hailed as the boy wonder of Scottish painting. In 1986 he won first prize for painting at the *Royal Academy's British Institute Fund Awards and his degree show sold out. In 1987 he was the youngest artist included in ‘The Vigorous Imagination’, the main exhibition at the Edinburgh Festival, in 1988 he was interviewed in Vogue magazine, and in 1989 he had a one-man exhibition at *Marlborough Fine Art, one of the most prestigious London dealers. This rapid rise to fame was not without its problems, for he became embroiled in a legal dispute (eventually settled out of court) over a contract he regretted signing with a management firm, evoking comparisons with the tribulations of certain pop singers: ‘I tried so hard to avoid “hype” and commercialization’, he said.
Text source: A Dictionary of Modern and Contemporary Art (Oxford University Press)