Rugman at Shop for Frames
About the Artist
I am a Glasgow-born London-based artist and designer.
I have a passion to create pieces of visual quality for people to enjoy… I do what I do because I love it.
Ever since I can remember, I have loved drawing. I think I was about 6 years old when I first thought I want to draw “when I grow up”, for a living. Inspired by the graphic art of cartoons and comic books (Mad Magazine, 2000AD and Marvel to name a few), skateboarding (which really carved my whole wanting to be an artist, being one of the biggest influences on my art to this day) and surfing (which landlocked in Glasgow I dreamed about doing), I moved from pen on paper drawings to having a go at hand-cutting stencils from about the age of 10. It is around this time I made my first graphic t-shirt using a hand-cut stencil, copying a Stussy tee design I coveted and then wearing it proudly.
My love of the crisp black line on white paper grew, influenced by graffiti art and Pop Art, adding in bursts of bright colours and punk subversive symbolism from artists like Keith Haring whose view of art being accessible to all, rich or poor, using my favourite canvases, the t-shirt or a skateboard to get their art seen and enjoyed out on the street resonated with me, a boy from Glasgow. This has stuck with me to this day – a cheekily graffitied city wall is fantastic, but I’ve always said a t-shirt is the best way to get your art out there and get it seen.
At age 17, I moved to London from Glasgow to study at Chelsea Art School. Since graduating, for over 20 years, I have worked as a graphic artist to make a living - starting in the fashion industry travelling to New York, Los Angeles, and Paris from London. My clients have ranged from Donna Karan and Calvin Klein to Vans. Along the way, I helped found Amplified clothing which was very successful in the early 2000s and more recently my own brand Rum Knuckles https://rumknuckles.com. I continue to do consultancy work within the industry.
My art has been exhibited internationally, in Barcelona, New York, California, Dublin, Stockholm and London. I have done many solo shows – in more recent years at The Saatchi Gallery and subsequently Jealous Gallery in London. I have also been involved in ground-breaking group shows exhibiting alongside the world’s leading street artists, most notably at Cans Festival and Cans 2 organised by Banksy and Pictures on Walls, where 500,000 people visited on the opening weekend.
My artwork streams seamlessly into the commercial world where I have collaborated successfully in projects with Bulgari, Hypebeast, LeCool magazine, Artrocker, Red Bull, NVIDIA, Edwin Jeans, Lucky 7 caps and Saatchi Gallery. For the Bulgari project, I was chosen as one of six artists total internationally to represent London, painting the UK flagship Bulgari store on Sloane Street for International Mother’s Day. I particularly enjoy painting live - showing people in real-time how I create my pieces and teaching stencilling and spray-painting workshops.
My designs and art have been worn and collected by comedian and writer Tim Minchin, actors Tom Hardy, Eva Green, Tom Davis, and Stephen Graham, and musicians Maverick Sabre, Mikill Pane, Ben Drew (a.k.a. Plan B), Joey Bada$$, Howlett of The Prodigy, Travis Barker of Blink 182, and Grant Nicholas of FEEDER. I did the album cover artwork for FEEDER’s Tallulah album in 2019.
In 2018, I founded the ACE Club London artist’s collective https://www.aceclub.art, an exciting ongoing project including live events organised and produced by the artists themselves, bringing together an eclectic mix of still art, sculpture, fashion, live performance art, the spoken word, and live music from solo artists, groups and DJ’s.