Alex Dunn: a life in ten points, and a (sort of) statement.
1. Born in Glasgow in 1951.
2. Escaped to the Highlands. Attended Bualnaluib Primary School. His main achievements while there was that by primary six he could pronounce 'Bualnaluib',
and by primary seven could even spell it.
3. Moved to Cromarty. Went to Fortrose Academy. Sang the first verse of 'The Red Flag' in front of the entire school, from which embarrassment he has never fully recovered.
4. Attended Aberdeen University. Sang in the choir. Studied economic history. Discovered women and Indian food. Enjoyed all these experiences, in equal measure, but with varying success.
5. Worked as an operating theatre porter in Dundee and as a fishing ghillie at Loch Maree, two jobs which should on no account be mixed up.
6. Got married.
7. Jobs after marriage: assistant factor at Castle Leod; manager of Cromartie Timber; director and part-owner of Ardival Harps.
8. Started painting pictures while at University. Concentrated at first on dead rabbits, which period ended when he ate the rabbits. Over the years his art has become more and more abstract, with the distinct disadvantage that abstract art is strikingly indigestible.
9. His pictures have been shown in the annual open exhibitions of the Royal Scottish Academy, Visual Arts Scotland, Society of Scottish Artists, and the Royal Glasgow Institute, but he has never exhibited in Achiltibuie.
10. He keeps hens, grows vegetables, cuts firewood, and continues to make pictures.
Question. Why do you make abstract pictures?
Answer. Because they aren't kittens.
A. Or stags. Or, come to that, Granny's Hieland Hame.
Q. But what do they mean?
Q. No, your bloody pictures!
A. More or less the same as a picture of kittens.
Q. But kittens don't mean anything. I mean, they're just....well, kittens, aren't they?
Q. What? What?
A. Or oil rigs, I suppose.
Q. Oh for heaven's sake! Ok, let me put it this way - do you, I mean your pictures, do they have a message?
A. Do they?
A. Do they have a message?
Q. How should I know?
A. I just make them, the pictures, you know. Whether they have a message or not, surely that's up to the spectator, don't you think?
Q. I wish I'd stuck to the property pages.
A. Interesting that. Did you know that when Einstein first went to New York, after he'd done the thing about relativity, the newspaper wanted to do an interview but the only journalist they could spare was one from the sports pages.
Q. Is that true?
A. Yup. Look it up - you're a journalist, aren't you?
Q. I'm beginning to wonder. Look, I can see what you do is abstract, but what else - I mean, what is it about abstract stuff that you like doing?
Q. Good, yeah, and....?
A. Slowness. I like doing things sloooowly.
Q. So you drive a Reliant Robin?
A. Hah! Good one! No what I mean is - the artist Hundertwasser was asked why his pictures were made out of painted or drawn spirals, and he said that it was 'born from the desire to make marks slowly'. You see, function, not interpretation.
Q. Right. So what it comes down to is, you're slow and simple and pernickity.
A. Yeah, more or less.
Q. Thank you and good night.