Fraser was part of a gang of free-range kids from Newvalley on the outskirts of Stornoway where I grew up. I remember him as being permanently on a skateboard. He was the mastermind behind building one of the island’s first halfpipes. The Tony Hawk symbol in the top left corner of his painting represents this carefree youth. No matter how big the competition, he was always pushing to be at the front; always vying to be first, highest, fastest and most stylish.
Summers at the beach revolved around watersports but often involved a crazy cliff or pier jump. It was Fraser who would find the highest point to plunge off when the tide was at its lowest. I’ve screen-printed the image of Fraser diving into the painting as a symbol of a childhood spent by the sea but also to speak to Fraser’s attitude to life.
Towards the end of his teens, a friend of Fraser’s (Saul) introduced him to Cheggs and Kenny (featured in the exhibition). This group started their journey to becoming surfers on a windy November day at Tolsta when they all shared one board and a wetsuit. Considering Fraser’s love of the sea, skateboarding and taking risks it wasn’t surprising he was hooked after this first experience on a surfboard. His favourite break is Bragar which I’ve painted from above with the swell lines wrapping around the point.
Musically Fraser wanted to stand out too. The soundtrack of his youth and beyond was Pearl Jam, the Chillis, Metallica and Nirvana, all played loud. The jagged zig zag pattern and black and red colour palette point to the heavy metal and grunge music, graphics and imagery that we all associate with Fraser.
For a time in the 1990s Fraser became so obsessed with his music that it became his life. He was the lead singer in ‘Two Fire Herb’ and of course he fully embraced the rock and roll lifestyle. The band’s graphic was the symbol pf Psi from the Greek alphabet and is central in the painting and intertwines with the diving image of Fraser.
During this time Fraser lived in Glasgow but regularly returned home to Lewis to see friends, family and to surf. As he headed towards his thirties the music scene was getting tougher so when his first child with his wife Leanne was born, Fraser returned home to the island for good. Tired of city life, he wanted his son Aidan to have the same childhood, freedom and space he’d enjoyed as a kid plus Fraser simply missed surfing too much.
He now splits his time between the North Sea where he is a rope access worker and the island with his family where he scallop dives, wakeboards and surfs with his three kids.