Brian Scott was a self proclaimed “airforce brat” growing up. His father’s military career took them to Germany, France, England as well as Eastern Canada. That is when Scott fell in love with paintings.
At a young, impressionable age his father took him to the Louvre in Paris as well as the National Gallery in London. He also saw a lot of Canadian Art when his father was stationed in Ontario.
When Scott finished high school he told his father he wanted to be an artist. His father told him to go to UBC to be an art teacher, and then go to art school after that.
Scott figures it was good advice. He has been painting for 41 years and teaching for more than half of that. He got his bachelor of education from UBC, a diploma of fine art from the Vancouver School of Fine Art and finally a masters degree in art education from Western Washington University.
A painting commissioned by a mining company in the Northwest Territories covered his student loans as well as the downpayment on a house. Around the same time he got a teaching contract at NIC and moved to Cumberland.
He has had studios all over including in Cumberland, in Arizona and on Hornby Island before finally settling in Black Creek 12 years ago.
After finishing with NIC, Scott taught for the Emily Carr College outreach program for 14 years. He travelled all over the province doing weekend workshops and collecting stories.
It was while in Cumberland that Scott started writing books. His first was a collection of paintings as well as the stories that went along with them. He got the idea from a retired Los Angeles school teacher and has published five books since then.
For a six year stint he was a board member for the BC Arts Council.
“That was interesting because you met people from different disciplines,” he said. And it wasn’t just artists but business people as well.
Scott moved away from teaching around 15 years ago.
“When Westjet started flying in then all the oil money came here so then my career really took off because I sell a lot of paintings to the oil patch [workers],” he said.
At that point he was painting boats, buildings and scenery, since the popularity of abstract paintings had long since waned.
Much of his inspiration came from his time on fishing boats with his brothers, as well as unique locations on the Island such as the mining towns and salmon canneries.
Many of the works he does are commissions, often of people’s homes. As well as the painting, Scott collects and writes the family histories that go along with the house. One of the most interesting he has stumbled across so far was of a family in Cumberland who’s grandfather had left Czechoslovakia after murdering someone. He had settled in Cumberland as a mine worker and started a family. It was only after his death that they found out he also had a family in Czechoslovakia.
Scott has recently started teaching again. He said that the drop in the oil prices lead to a drop in the art market, but he is glad he got back into it because he is really enjoying his current group of students.
“As a trained art teacher I individualize,” he said. “I don’t want the students to paint like I do, I want them to find their own way.”
Though he knows his students will be influenced by his own style, he doesn’t want them to paint like he paints.
“The kinds of colour you choose, the kind of art you do, reflects on your personality,” he said.
Scott himself uses bright bold colours. His goal is to capture emotion not make the piece look like a photograph.
“I’ve got a lot of energy and that comes through in my art and of course colour is the natural vehicle,” he said.