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I'm an arts journalist & PR consultant living and working in Scotland. I've been a journalist for more than 25 years. I write a regular column for Scottish quality newspaper, The Herald. I deliver a PR service with an arty bent and work on a consultancy basis with arts organisations, including Scotland's leading creative industries festival, XpoNorth & broadcast support body, ScreenHI. I am currently co-writing a book about the celebrated Scots artist, George Wyllie, with his daughter Louise. Instrumental in making a celebration of his life's work happen in 2012. For more information, see www.georgewyllie.com When I'm not being a mum/working, I talk to my dog. He laps it up. Contact me on janpatience@me.com (All work © Jan Patience)

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Artist's Handmaiden Comes Out of the Shadows...

Thanks to Carol Campbell for allowing me to use her fantastic photographs from New York in the 1980s, where Steven and she lived for a while. He won a Fulbright Scholarship following his graduation in 1982 from Glasgow School of Art. His paintings were received rapturously in New York and he gained an international reputation.
The painting shown here is called: Attenti al Cane, al Padrone et tutti la Famiglia
AND the Tutti Frutti flyer is for a Steven Campbell Trust fundraiser at Glasgow School of Art on Saturday 24 April

ONE of the great things about being a journalist is that I get to meet some amazing people. Artists are generally stimulating company as they spend a lot of time pondering the human condition and attempting to convey their own particular take on it in visual terms.
But behind every great artist, there is usually a flame carrier. Someone who bats in their corner no matter what the circumstances.
Carol Campbell, wife of the late Steven Campbell, fitted into this category throughout their long and happy marriage.
I met Carol a couple of years ago, just as she was coming up to the first anniversary of her husband’s death. Steven died from a ruptured appendix at the age of just 54 in August 2007. His death robbed the world of a huge talent, but for his family – his mum, Carol, and their three grown-up children ¬– the gap he left was chasm-like.
The first time I met her, I was struck by Carol’s tenacity in holding firm to the cause of promoting Steven’s genius – for he had one of these star-spangled minds which only comes along once in a generation.
Intellectually rigorous and with an imagination which soared and roared its way into paintings which were filled with mind-altering narratives, he was one of the key figures in a revival of figurative painting which emanated from Glasgow in the 1980s.
Throughout their time together, Carol was, as she puts it her funny, sad and beautifully written blog www.thestevencampbelltrust.com ‘one of art’s handmaidens’ (Steven’s jokey reference to her role in his work.)
‘ In less poetic terms I was the go-for,’ she writes. ‘Paints picked up in a lunch hour, canvas at the end of the day, books from the library, the list was endless but how wonderful it was to be a small part in the amazing things that were being created in that tiny studio. I so miss the poetry and the beauty and most of all the man.’
Once a handmaiden, always a handmaiden though, and Carol has seized on the energy which she brought to bear in their relationship and turned it into a positive by setting up The Steven Campbell Trust. This charitable trust aims to offer a support to artists at different points of their career – particularly the mid-career stage, which is a particularly tricky phase to navigate, as Carol knows from personal experience.
So far, the Trust has been responsible for setting up the Hunt Medal and award for a final year student at Glasgow School of Art (Steven’s alma mater) and an annual lecture in his name, the inaugural one of which was held last October at the National Gallery of Scotland in Edinburgh.
Carol and her fellow Trustees are about to launch themselves hook, line and sinker into a star-studded Tutti Frutti night at Glasgow School of Art’s Vic Cafe this Saturday night (April 24). John Byrne is the patron of the Steven Campbell Trust and his classic 1980s drama series is the inspiration behind this extravaganza.
John Byrne and a host of well-known names from the world of art, theatre and music (including Peter Capaldi – best known as evil spinmeister Malcolm Tucker in The Thick of It) will be there and it looks like being a fab night out.
Tickets cost £20 each are still available for this night of 1980s-inspired music night at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall and at Glasgow School of Art.
Now where are my shoulder pads? I knew they’d come in handy again.

And PS Carol... when are you going to start on that book?


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