Drawings

Ulitsa Krasina 2. Pencil, pen and ink, oil pastels. 21cm x 14.8cm. June 2020
Ulitsa Krasina 1. Pencil, pen and ink, oil pastels. 27.5cm x 22cm. June 2020
Looking towards New Arbat. Pencil, felt-tip, oil pastels on paper. 14.8cm x 21 cm. June 2020
June 2018, duotone, pencil on paper, 20.7 x 29.6cm. June 2018.
Na Maroseika. June 2018. Duotone, pencil on paper. 29.7cm x 21cm. June 2018.
Chistiye Prudy Metro, 35.5cm x 22 cm. Duotone, pencil on paper. June 2018
Lyubanka. June 2018. Duotone, pencil on paper. 29.6cm x 20.8cm. June 2018.
2-ya Frunzenskaya Ulitsa looking down towards the river. Duotone, ink, pencil and charcoal on paper. 29.6 cm x 20.8 cm.
Luzhniki Sports Stadium, Moscow pencil on paper, 20.7cm x 29.7cm. July 2018.
Prospect Mir Metro. oil pastel on paper, 20.7cm x 29.7cm. July 2018.
Prospect Mir. Pen & ink plus oil pastels on paper. 29.7cm x 15cm. July 2018.
Smog in Moscow. Pastels on paper. 70 x 50cm. Moscow
Angliski Kvartal. Charcoal on paper. 70 x 30 cm. 2001
Ha Maroseika. Charcoal on paper. 55x75cm, 1982
Babushka. A1, Charcoal on paper, 1978
Gostiny Dvor. Charcoal on paper. 60 x 85 cm. 1988
Valia, Life drawing, A1, 1978 Moscow
Moscow Metro, pencil on paper, A4, 1972

About

I was brought up in London in the 1950s and enjoyed all that the 60s and 70s had to offer. After attending Camberwell School of Art I worked in London for a few years as a graphic designer.  The 1980s was an adventurous time, and I decided to travel to two countries which were closed to us all — the Soviet Union and China; as I was fascinated by their cultures. I have spent over 25 years studying and working in Russia and 6 in China.

Prints are available of all the artwork on this site. Please contact me on: harrisonj@outlook.com

1.9.19. Trip to Scotland

This year I felt the need to have a change from Russia, and not just for the usual yearly one-week break. Taking advantage of my newly acquired status of a teacher — wow if only I had discovered these holidays earlier — I parked myself in Campbletown for two months and started writing up the 30 or so interviews I have for a new book. Marina came to visit me for eight glorious days and we managed to go on a road trip to Skye for a few days. That was a great trip, both the drive up in a hired car through some pretty stunning scenery, trying to understand what people were saying in the petrol stations, the stay itself on the island, and the trip back through Oban.

On Skye, we particularly enjoyed a drive that we discovered by accident. After dining on fish and chips in Broadford we were in a good mood, despite the awful hotel — The ‘Dunollie Hotel, A Bespoke Hotel’, where we paid 162 Euros for a tiny room with a miniature bathroom and awful, plastic service.  There was, though, a nice wee harbour round the back of the hotel.

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Broadford Harbour

I wrote a review for the booking.com site but needless to say, my review, which was not entirely complimentary never showed up on that site. After our Best of British evening meal, we decided to turn up a side street away from the seafront, seagulls, backpackers resting from their heavy loads, and tourists from all over the world. In fairness to the discussion about overtourism in Scotland, all of the tourists’ different tongues, clothes and attitudes were overshadowed by the majesty of the Skye landscape; a landscape that offers it all — from misty distant snow covered mountains across a loch, to charming pubs and villages.

The road took us along the side of what looked like a massive mountain covered in dark green/blue vegetation, slumbering in the gradually decreasing evening light. There was an enchanting small lake to the right, in the evening light it was pure magic. Landscapes in Scotland are all about contrasts. I shift tenses to describe my feelings. Bulrushes in the foreground set off by the pristine clear water of the lake, revealing dark brown stones underneath across which dark shadows — fish, in ones or twos and then in considerably more numbers flit occasionally by; swimming across their world. Sometimes they freeze in mid-water for a staccato of time, when they become aware of human presence. The water sporadically brightens because of flares of sun rays which light up the water, transforming the surface into liquid metal, too bright to look at directly. The looming dark shape slumbering giant in the background looks on, silently and knowingly, as if gloating over the temporal nature of creatures.

I couldn’t imagine what this place must look like in stormy weather, but I was sure that it is completely different. The weather changes constantly up here, something to do with the wind, altitude, sea. In a word — Scotland. The abrupt differences in lighting creates profoundly different moods and aspects within the time frame of a few minutes. Differences in the appearances of landscapes between seasons negate the need of travelling to foreign countries.

Around another turn or ten, and we found ourselves in a steep descent to Loch Slapin. A stunning, romantic view opened up in front of us. Driven up mountains by the wind, viscous clouds clung to the terrain and poured downwards through mountain passes. It was difficult not to fantasise living in a place like this, but I know that for city dwellers like us, a week or two would probably be as much as we could bear without feeling cut off, and in desperate need of a tube train to reaffirm our identity in. We stopped the car and wandered over along the stones on the beach for a while, Marina found some small shells whilst I sketched. I attempted an oil sketch, which I finished at home in Campbeltown but it does not do the place justice. Nothing can, it is one of those places you have to see with your own eyes.

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Loch Slapin

We journeyed up the well driven road to Portree, quite a drive. Portree was really tourist ville, we sat outside a pub on the loch front, and we could have been anywhere — Torquay, Calais. Then we realised that Skye has to be appreciated out of season. On the way back we stayed one night at the Royal Hotel in Oban, in a luxurious room with a view for considerably less than our stay in ‘A Bespoke Hotel’. We discovered the local Asda store sold large bottles of Ben Bracken single malt for £18, so we bought 4 bottles, not all for personal consumption then and there, but for gifts for friends, at least that was the philosophy behind the purchases. By design or perhaps as a consequence of believing in philosophy we took it easy for the rest of our stay in Scotland. Some days we did nothing at all except reading. On others days, we gingerly ventured forth into a local pub and played pool, to the chagrin of some local lads, one of whom mentioned politely to me, as I bought another beer: “Somebody wins pool, you know.”

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View from our room at the Royal Hotel

Campbeltown is a mystery town. The Kintyre peninsular on which the town is situated, stretches about some 80 miles from the mainland part of Scotland. It is not an island, however the mind set of Campbeltonians, (a kind of parody from Etonians) as far as I can work out, is island-like. I am becoming a local, and notice that I am developing strong opinions about everything, about Brexit, Scottish independence, the local Tesco’s and the old barbers shop.

The town has mysteriously ‘come up’ over the past few years after the local council decided to do up a few of the large buildings in the town centre. Local developers had caught on and things are changing. However you only have to turn a few corners away from the high street to be reminded of the real poverty that still exists in Scotland today. Better than syringe and condom strewn entrances in the cold mornings which were so common in 70s-90s post-industrial Scotland, but in the sheer number of boarded up residential and commercial properties, the abundance of cheap charity shops, it’s all a million miles away from the tweedle dum market towns of Little England. There, charity shops are for the down and out and antique shops are for amusement. Here, prices are rock bottom and many cannot get by without them.

The large houses are another mystery, actually magnificently large houses, which remind me of properties in Highgate or Kensington, now owned by Russians. There are many tales to be heard in the local pubs, especially in ‘The Comm’, as to where the money came to erect these palaces. Some say that it was during prohibition in America that Campbeltown’s whisky industry really came into its own. According to this legend, Campbeltown was the origin port of whisky being smuggled across the Atlantic. With Northern Ireland only 20 miles away from the western side of the peninsular, and close cultural affiliations with the Irish, there may have been some Irish involvement as well. Be this as it may, Campbeltown with its port, was the centre of agricultural empires owned by wealthy landowners who built their stone houses here as much as status symbols than anything else. The mystery now is why these houses are still there, in excellent condition and not dissected into flats or tarted up into hotels and B&Bs as they have been throughout much of the rest of Scotland. Either the town is too far away from anywhere to attract the kind of numbers of tourists that hoteliers need, despite the yearly Music Festival, or the owners are wealthy enough not to have to destroy the integrity of their beautiful Victorian and Edwardian dwellings.

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‘The Undertakers’, view from my window in Campbeltown

Another mystery is the town’s infrastructure and amenities. The place has its own commercial radio station, which is surprising for a town of only 9000 souls. ‘Argyle FM’ broadcasts from a single tower on top of a hill not far from Sir Paul McCartney’s place. Broadcast is analogue and the station has no web site. In other words, this is our radio station for us and by us, and we are proud of it. The rest of the world is important of course, but too far away to bother with.

The town has a magnificent swimming pool atop of a reasonable sized library. One wall of the pool is glass, displaying a panoramic view of the town and surrounding hills. Incredibly, this town has a functioning hospital, and very friendly doctors and nurses, many of whom voluntarily migrated here from the big cities. In other words, conditions might be tough but you don’t hear a lot of complaints. Complaints there could be of course. Because of the geography and demographics of Scotland, being referred to a specialist means a journey to Oban, Glasgow or Lochgilphead, or all three. If you don’t own a car, then that means long bus journeys, but the NHS actually flew my brother who was in urgent need of treatment to Glasgow and back. He was amazed, and so was I.

Perhaps the explanation behind the mystery of why Campbeltown possesses such assets lies in the nearby ex-NATO air base. RAF Machrihanish, as it used to be called before being sold in 2012, has a long history in connection with providing air cover for shipping, as well as Cold War usage when its massive 10,000 ft landing strip allowed it to be used as a base for British and American larger aircraft such as bombers and transporters. In case of a major international crisis that air base, could presumably be renationalised rapidly. There was talk of a UK spaceport being built on this aerodrome, however that now seems to be unlikely. This is unfortunate as I fancy seeing space ships take off from just up the road whilst imbuing wine from one of the posh hotels on the High Street on a special night out. In the meantime, driving to Glasgow takes about three hours, four on the bus, despite the wild boasts by some wild some residents that one can drive in two hours.

The final mystery, for me at least, is the people. One thinks of the Scots as being hard, calculating people. They are, but in Campbeltown they are also incredibly friendly, in fact in all my travels, and I have been to a good few places, I have never met such genuinely warm folk. Campbeltonian identity goes as far as not actually wishing to be entirely contemporary. We want the town to do well, but not too well. Because then house prices will shoot up and make it impossible for locals to buy places to live. Evenings at the Ailsa bar will not be the mixture of raucous whisky hallucinogenic fun that they are now. The Irish won’t sail over so often for weekends, and the town will be known less as a working port, rather as a nice, if slightly odd resort. There is an element of healthy anarchism in true Campbeltonian identity, long may it remain there.

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Campbeltown Harbour, September 2019

6.4.20 It’s coming

Moscow. Well, various people we know on the inside of the health system here tell us that things are not good. It looks as though the infection rate will peak in 2-3 weeks, although it is difficult to say with any real certainty. 1,000 new cases were recorded officially yesterday in Moscow alone, I wouldn’t like to hazard a guess as to how many have already died. One man, very high up in the system said in a casual, almost off-handed, very Russian way: ‘expect armageddon’ due to the lack of intensive care beds, ventilators (whilst at the same time the TV news radiates pride about helping other countries with equipment), and medical staff. In general, the (Russian) government has been extremely unforthcoming with information about Covid-19. Up until March 19, they merely said that there are more people coming down with ‘serious bouts of flu’, and for a long time we had only 10 or 20 cases with one death. This is despite the number of pneumonia cases increasing by 30% in January and February (an extra 1500 people). Nobody took this seriously, after all, ‘we are Russians’, we like vodka, and that kills all viruses, fill my glass… not everyone drinks of course, most young people do not, but I did hear the version that God loves Russia so much that it won’t affect us here. That is extreme  of course, but I did detect an exceptionalist, nationalist undertone that I found most disturbing. 

Initially, conspiracy theories abounded. It was the Americans, then the Chinese, then the Russians themselves attempting to distract public attention away from Mr P’s promotion to eternal coronated tsarist status. A referendum to confirm that has been postponed, however the laws authorising His new status have virtually all been passed. It is true that Russians have been through a lot of crises even more serious than this one (when was there NOT a crisis?, here people say), so they are hardened to whatever is about to happen, but at the same time, having tough skins has made them blasé to the dangers and we are all paying for that now. 

When they (the gov) began to ask the general population, and tell old (I am old apparently) people on March 19th to stay at home, suddenly everything changed. The realisation spread like wildfire into every nook and cranny where we live that people are dying, and thousands are contracting the disease. Yet only 10 days ago, we rushed across Moscow to handle yet another crisis with Volodia. The casualty people were already there, which I found quite amazing, but none of them were wearing masks or even protective gloves. They were tired, they said, had made about 15 calls that day already, and criticised us for calling them out (although Volodia was almost dead), when there are ’so many more important things to do’. Being so tight with information means that one always thinks the worst. In fact a new hospital has been opened outside Moscow, we heard unofficially. Airports have been closed. One girl in my class this morning told us that her dad works as refueller or whatever the job is called of planes in one of Moscow’s airports. Usually has team refuels 150 planes a day, yesterday they refuelled 3. Passengers on any of the few flights allowed in from any of the countries on the ‘danger list’ (everywhere) are carted off to a sanatorium somewhere for at least 2 weeks and remain there until they have been checked to be healthy for two weeks. There are virtually no flights out. We are not yet in the Italian ‘QR’ lockdown mode, but I think that will be imposed soon. The streets are completely empty, much like the scene in London and elsewhere. Inside our little flat we are fine, still talking to each other (remarkably). Watching a lot of Netflix, getting fat. 

10.4.20 Ducks and masks

Life in the non-online external world has reduced, to journeying between my bedroom, the kitchen, the bathroom, talking to Marina, eating, working online, drinking and watching Netflix. Up until 3 days ago, we used to go outside, into that world that is becoming increasingly distant. Then the park that we used to walk round, a small, but very classy place called ‘Patriarshy Prudy’ provided us with a wonderful place to exercise. I found out the day before yesterday, to my great disappointment, that the park is closed, with striped runner tape, sealing the entrances in a makeshift way. I went back today and found 3 policemen standing upright, smoking and looking formidable right in front of that same entrance. There was, however, a man in the park, who I could see from the road, who looked like he was breaking the rules, but in fact was a policeman talking on his walkie talky, waiting for the inevitable disgruntled Muscovite like me to break the rules. Nobody was stupid enough to do that. So I walked around the road that runs around the park until I saw a police van parked in the middle of the road, then slinked off home.

A few ducks have returned early because of the extraordinarily warm weather; there was, again, hardly any snow in Moscow this winter. It looks as though these feathered urban restriction breakers won’t stay in the pond long as there is nobody to feed them. Maybe they should wear masks? The only other park in this vicinity where ducks congregate, is the even larger pond in the zoo. I wonder how they are faring, indeed all the other animals in the zoo? I wonder what life is like for these animals now that their audiences have gone, but their captivity remains?

I reminisce about the last of my exercise walks, which consisted of walking round this large pond, surrounded by a strip of green and the glorious 19th facades of what are now luxury apartments inhabited by Moscow’s ultra-cool elite and babushkas. My friend Tom used to live in one of those flats before the one of the financial crashes, I can’t remember which one, and now lives in gentrified Tooting. A few of the buildings feature ‘art-moderne’ bass-reliefs. Mikhail Bulgakov lived here, when it was not such a salubrious area. Walking round ponds is not something that I usually used to do. I was quite happy to sit on one of the park benches watching Moscow’s Ys and Zs drifting slowly by, stopping occasionally for no reason on TikTok, Vkontakt, Telegram. Young mediums between different worlds. Telegram was supposed to have made been banned two years ago. Or I’d loll around on the banks reading, dare I say it, open a bottle of wine and try to read a book. That was my exercise before I felt that I should exercise, after all, us high riskers have to keep our immune system in tip top condition.

There was one young man, who looked like the archetype Moscow intellectual, from one of those revolutionary 1920 posters – tall, lean, with round glasses. He used to sit there on a park bench reading Kafka. Very cool I thought just the sort of thing you should read in a place like this. Good technique. On my last walk there, although I didn’t know then that it was going to be my last walk, I saw him reading Camus’s Plague. Very apt I thought, both for the story line and for groupthink metaphor, I don’t know. I thought of asking him if he was trying to make a statement, but couldn’t overcome my British self-isolation, something that I contracted when I was born. Meanwhile, in the corner of the park, in defiance of a couple of police standing just three metres away, three young Russian musicians with fantastic voices, merged their voices at different octaves as they thrashed out electronic folk music, and raised everybody’s spirits.

Yesterday, Moscow Major Sergey Sobyanin in a friendly, but solemn way, announced the latest anti-coronavirus measures. Whilst 75% of Muscovites are restricted in their movements around the city, about 3 million are still going to work. His reasoning, and maybe he is right, is that this is the optimal number to ‘slow down the spread of the infection’. I think that is what he means, and he said as much later in his address: ‘this is an optimal mix of keeping the economy going and protecting people’. This will also keep the flow of people going to hospital minimal, something Sobyanin didn’t say, but which is reflective of BJ’s ‘herd immunity’ policies, something that Boris did have the courage to actually admit. Sobyanin said that 1300 people (in Moscow) were admitted into hospitals yesterday, most of who tested coronavirus positive. 25 hospitals have been converted, and 40 ‘polyclinics’ are being converted to testing centres, and, he said 17,000 tests are been carried out every day. If we can believe this is actually happening, then the government is now taking real action. From the 13th, Moscow administrative organisations are shutting down, except medical institutions, power structures, financial structures and transport, and the press, which he included in the list of ‘urban’ organisations. One wonders how many more administrative organisations there are? Education is something that is run centrally, presumably he means that these organisations keep running but they will be staffed from home?  He also said that the Moscow government has no choice but to introduce a ‘pass system’, starting next week, the details of which, he said, would be made clear shortly.

I personally think the introduction of such measures is necessary and perhaps even late to avoid the ‘very difficult experiences’ which Sobyanin said are coming. The problem is, many Muscovites are already wondering when the measures will be lifted. With its Soviet past, Russians are quite justifiably paranoid about any increase in State control. Getting back to ‘normal’ is something that Sobyanin has promised us will happen just as soon as the threat of the disease retreats. We do indeed hope that this is true, that the park, small businesses will open again when the disease, like Camus’s rats, goes away. There is no reason to doubt this will happen, however it is not clear that if the passes are going to be electronic, what the social consequences will be, particularly when one bears in mind the heavy handed use of electronic surveillance systems now used in China to beat the virus. Then again, one can argue that China has beaten the virus, but that would be to believe Chinese government stats which are also unverifiable.

One hopes that Russians will be kind to each other. The doubter in me does wonder though. As we all know, the term fake news is interpreted differently at different times in different parts of the world. Radio Echo Moskva reports about the complete unpreparedness of the medical services in the rest of the country, so it is possible to conclude that either they are lying or that Moscow is being made into a vast Potemkin village again. A new law promises that anybody caught ‘spreading fake news about coronavirus’ will face 5 years in prison. Echo Moskva, one of the only electronic broadcasters which offers an alternative view of what is going on, although it is government funded, is allowed to do what it does and has done for many years. Very confusing.

Anyway, we are all OK so far, hope you are too. How do you write a will?


6.4.20

Moscow. Well, various people we know on the inside of the health system here tell us that things are not good. It looks as though the infection rate will peak in 2-3 weeks, although it is difficult to say with any real certainty. 1,000 new cases were recorded officially yesterday in Moscow alone, I wouldn’t like to hazard a guess as to how many have already died. One man, very high up in the system said in a casual, almost off-handed, very Russian way: ‘expect armageddon’ due to the lack of intensive care beds, ventilators (whilst at the same time the TV news radiates pride about helping other countries with equipment), and medical staff. In general, the (Russian) government has been extremely unforthcoming with information about Covid-19. Up until March 19, they merely said that there are more people coming down with ‘serious bouts of flu’, and for a long time we had only 10 or 20 cases with one death. This is despite the number of pneumonia cases increasing by 30% in January and February (an extra 1500 people). Nobody took this seriously, after all, ‘we are Russians’, we like vodka, and that kills all viruses, fill my glass… not everyone drinks of course, most young people do not, but I did hear the version that God loves Russia so much that it won’t affect us here. That is extreme  of course, but I did detect an exceptionalist, nationalist undertone that I found most disturbing. 

Initially, conspiracy theories abounded. It was the Americans, then the Chinese, then the Russians themselves attempting to distract public attention away from Mr P’s promotion to eternal coronated tsarist status. A referendum to confirm that has been postponed, however the laws authorising His new status have virtually all been passed. It is true that Russians have been through a lot of crises even more serious than this one (when was there NOT a crisis?, here people say), so they are hardened to whatever is about to happen, but at the same time, having tough skins has made them blasé to the dangers and we are all paying for that now. 

When they (the gov) began to ask the general population, and tell old (I am old apparently) people on March 19th to stay at home, suddenly everything changed. The realisation spread like wildfire into every nook and cranny where we live that people are dying, and thousands are contracting the disease. Yet only 10 days ago, we rushed across Moscow to handle yet another crisis with Volodia. The casualty people were already there, which I found quite amazing, but none of them were wearing masks or even protective gloves. They were tired, they said, had made about 15 calls that day already, and criticised us for calling them out (although Volodia was almost dead), when there are ’so many more important things to do’. Being so tight with information means that one always thinks the worst. In fact a new hospital has been opened outside Moscow, we heard unofficially. Airports have been closed. One girl in my class this morning told us that her dad works as refueller or whatever the job is called of planes in one of Moscow’s airports. Usually has team refuels 150 planes a day, yesterday they refuelled 3. Passengers on any of the few flights allowed in from any of the countries on the ‘danger list’ (everywhere) are carted off to a sanatorium somewhere for at least 2 weeks and remain there until they have been checked to be healthy for two weeks. There are virtually no flights out. We are not yet in the Italian ‘QR’ lockdown mode, but I think that will be imposed soon. The streets are completely empty, much like the scene in London and elsewhere. Inside our little flat we are fine, still talking to each other (remarkably). Watching a lot of Netflix, getting fat. 

Acting, radio and Voice Over

Voice over

I have extensive experience in voicing over Russian TV programmes and films into English. Here are some examples.

2018, ‘Master Angola’

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1idL8D3TAum-KRKCv_tp6DqKlVjHhWiSY

Acting

I have acted in three films, such as ‘Salut’, and numerous TV programmes. Here are some examples:

‘Mamochki’ Series 8, Season 1

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1uL8yUOR-diviWO14GDAKhrq5DVgp0TOG/view?usp=sharing

New Year decorations (promo for . Moscow Government)

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1swx_w5HtXn5v36EGtKlpIfMbPyW2iYN2/view?usp=sharing

Radio

I worked for 7 years for ‘Golus Rossiya’ which then became ‘Sputnik’

Art

In 1987 I moved to Moscow, where I worked as a designer and illustrator, among other things. In the early 1990s I was able to spend quite a lot of time painting, against a background of dramatic changes that were taking place in te country at the time. I held three exhibitions in Russia during this period. I lived in China from 1983-5, 1996-8, so some of the paintings on this site are from there. I also held an exhibition in Beijing in 2008.

My work is essentially realistic. Natella Voiskounski, the curator of ASTI gallery, where I held my first solo Moscow exhibition in 2006, called my style ‘romantic realism’. I think that you only have one voice, which should not be distorted, once found.

I am stimulated by life around me. Some of the western artists who have had the strongest influence on me include, by no means exclusively, Auguste Rodin, William Turner, Pierre Bonnard and Edvard Munch. From a wide panoply of Russian artists I draw the most from Zinaida Serebriakova, Peter Konchalevsky, Alexander Golovin and my late lamented artist friend Yury Rodin.

Needless to say, the work on this site is for sale! Please contact me with the number of the art/artworks you are interested in. Good quality prints are available.

harrisonj@outlook.com

Thank you for visiting this site.

Scotland

‘Broomfield Rd, Paisley’, charcoal on paper. A3. May 2014.
Round The back. Burnside Street, Campbeltown. Charcoal on paper. 56cm x 76cm. 6.18
Sauchiehall lane, Glasgow. 2012. 44cm x 56cm. Oil pastels on paper.
‘The Undertakers’, Burnside Street, Campbeltown. Oil on canvas, 15cm x 20 cm, August 2019. £150/£35
Broadford Harbour (Skye), pencil sketch, A4. July 2019/. £25 print.
Campbeltown, pencil sketch, A4. July 2019. £25 print.
‘Getting There’. Oil on Card. 64x51cm. Torrin, Skye. August 2019. £150/£35


Writing

I was brought up in London in the 1950s and enjoyed all that the 60s and 70s had to offer. To be different, which was very much in vogue at the time, I studied Russian and Chinese at university in London. My awareness of the world was enlarged, considerably, by what I experienced in both countries. I have spent the best part of 30 years of my life studying and working in Russia and 6 in China.

My journalism career culminated in ’Editor-in-Chief’ positions of English language magazines in Russia, which were focused on cultural and lifestyle themes. I have also engaged in broadcasting. I am fortunate to have witnessed the development of both Russia and China, a process, quite naturally, is continuing loud and strong. I try to avoid politics, preferring to concentrate on cultural differences, as I feel that they, in the end of the day, result in much of the societal and political conflicts/changing alliances that we see in the world today; not only between Russia and China, but between these two countries and the rest of the world. Having said that, recent developments have shown that almost any written statement can be interpreted politically, and that is particularly true in contemporary Russia and China.

The latter part of my life is dedicated to documenting the transformations both countries have been experiencing in words and in pictures. I have now retired from the world of journalism, and have started to write a series of books which hopefully communicate what it was like living in Russia and China over the past 30 years. ‘Trapped Between Cultures’ is my first book, but not my last.

‘Trapped Between Cultures’

Academic Writing

Journalism (under development)