Peter Howson was born in London in 1958, but moved to Glasgow at the age of 4. He attended Glasgow School of Art from 1975, but tutors did not appreciate his strong figurative style. Having failed his first end of year exams, he impulsively signed up for the British Army. However, after nine month tenure, he swore never to fire another gun for as long as he lived.
Then followed a number of relatively menial jobs as he was desperately in need of an income. He started working as a nightclub bouncer and simultaneously became embroiled in the pastime of bodybuilding. The almost grotesque form of overly-developed bodies was to become the focus of much of Howson’s most lauded work. Howson’s stated abhorrence of violent culture is reflected in his later pieces.
Howson was a central figure in what was now becoming known as the “Glasgow Boys” movement. His work was spotted by Flowers agents at a 1985 Glasgow exhibition and his career began to take off. Howson was later given the chance to travel to Bosnia as the official British war artist. This was a particularly troublesome time in Howson’s life and he left Bosnia due to ill health.
In 1996 an exhibition at Flowers East in London opened to rave reviews. Now a household name, he has produced commissions for an array of celebrities including Madonna, David Bowie, Bob Geldoff and John McEnroe to name but a few. His work is undoubtedly now a collector’s item, with the most expensive piece selling for £305,000. He recently undertook a large commission in Glasgow Cathedral.