‘My paintings are about things I have done and things I wish I could do. They are about a bunch of sad, unhappy people who are driven by lust’ (Jack Vettriano)
Jack Vettriano, 53, has always been something of an outsider in the art establishment, his slightly cloying style being at odds with the edginess of contemporary art, but also falling short of more classical standards. Vettriano is entirely self-taught. A Scotsman of Italian descent, he began his career as a mining engineer working down the Fife coalfields. His works have this nostalgic feel about the past. It almost seems that he has spent his life wistfully looking back, living more for a darker yesterday rather that for brighter tomorrow. Vettriano himself tends to describe his paintings as akin to pulp fiction novel covers and railway posters of the 1950s, his images have an often-mysterious narrative and are a gateway to an alluring yet sinister world. Daylight scenes of heady optimism, painted against backdrops of beaches and racetracks, are counterbalanced by more disquieting canvases of complex night-time liaisons in bars, clubs, bedrooms and ballrooms*. Vettriano’s works expose a ‘cool, sharp world of edgy romance and sexual tension. He has the ability to make you feel nostalgic for things you never actually experienced in the first place.’* And this is exactly what attracted me: the narrative quality of his work it is like reading a book, your mind puts together the scene as described by the author, enabling the viewer to engage with the painting and then develop it.
*Anthony Quinn, 2004.
*Sir Timothy Rice.