AN artist who arrived in Drumchapel on the back of a coal lorry 70 years ago has hosted his first-ever exhibition. 

Ian McKay has spent the last three decades capturing the history of the area on canvas.

The 73-year-old finally had the opportunity to “let his art breathe” last week as he hosted an exhibition at St Mark's Church as part of the D70 celebrations.

Glasgow Times: Ian McKay next to a painting of his old secondary school Kingsridge Ian McKay next to a painting of his old secondary school Kingsridge (Image: Newsquest staff)

Ian, who graduated from Glasgow School of Art in 1989, told how he he always knew he wanted to pursue a career in art.

He said: “My dad got me a job in John Brown’s in Clydebank after I left school at 15 and I also worked in Singers but as time went on I just thought ‘this isn’t me’. I wanted to be an artist.

“I went to Glasgow School of Art from 1984 to 1989 as a mature student. I was 35 when I entered and 40 by the time I left.

“I never thought I’d get there, it was my biggest achievement. I was with a partner at the time who was going to night classes for spelling and grammar and she asked if I wanted to go along.

“She also said I could do my O-levels so I went to Clydebank College and got them.

"I knew I was on the right path and you didn’t need an O-level or higher in art to get into art school, you just needed English.

“I’d just moved into my flat in Linkwood and it was my first summer there when I got a letter through saying I’d been accepted to art school, I thought the house was lucky.

“It was fantastic and from then on my life was set and I could do what I’d always wanted to do for the rest of my life.”

Glasgow Times: Some of Ian's work on display at St Mark's ChurchSome of Ian's work on display at St Mark's Church (Image: Newsquest staff)

Much of Ian’s work features buildings from Drumchapel past and present including the flat he grew up in, the flat he now lives in, the ‘Girning Gates’, St Benedicts Church, Peel Tower, and the Donald Dewar Centre.

Glasgow Times: The 'Girning Gates' The 'Girning Gates' (Image: Newsquest staff)

He explained that he took inspiration from an Italian artist who specialised in urban landscape portraits.

Glasgow Times: The Donald Dewar Centre The Donald Dewar Centre (Image: Newsquest staff)

The 73-year-old noted that most of the buildings that he has painted over the years are now gone however, his art is able to preserve those parts of history.

Glasgow Times: Some of Ian's work including a painting of his mum and the 'Peel Tower'Some of Ian's work including a painting of his mum and the 'Peel Tower' (Image: Newsquest staff)

He added: “It’s [his artwork] about Drumchapel as it was from the start right through to today. It’s what I grew up with.

“I came here on the back of a coal lorry from Bridgeton in 1953/54 and this is what is indelibly marked on my brain.

“The street I lived on for 30 years was completely demolished. People come back here after 20-30 years and don’t recognise the place because it’s all new.

“I am working on two or three new paintings of mostly new buildings as the old ones are all away.

"I transformed my bedroom into a studio after leaving art school so that’s where I work from.

“Around 75 percent of what I have painted is gone. When I was working to get into art school I found an Italian artist who did a lot of urban landscapes – and I lived in an urban landscape.

“I knew that was the way I wanted to paint and those are the things I wanted to express. He died in 1964 but in a way, he’s passed his spirit on.

“This is thirty-odd years of work, it’s about painting Drumchapel as it was, that’s what it’s all about.”

Glasgow Times: Kingsridge Secondary School on canvasKingsridge Secondary School on canvas (Image: Newsquest Staff)