John Byrne (Mural Design, 1964) RSA

Job Title:

Illustrator, Painter, Printmaker and Writer


GSA Alumni


John Byrne
Beach Boy, 2011, oil on board

John Byrne


John Byrne (Mural Design, 1964)

John Byrne was born in Paisley in 1940, and studied at The Glasgow School of Art from 1958 to 1963. He has since made a remarkable contribution to Scottish arts and culture through his career as an illustrator, painter, printmaker and writer.

Highlights of a prolific and varied career include illustrating record covers for the Beatles, Billy Connolly and Gerry Rafferty, and jackets for Penguin Books in the mid 1960s. Byrne wrote the BAFTA award-winning television series Tutti Frutti (1987) starring Robbie Coltrane, Emma Thompson and Richard Wilson, and his play The Slab Boys (1978) is named by the National Library of Scotland as one of the 12 key works of the last 40 years. He has designed sets for his own plays and those of other playwrights.

His work is held in major collections in Scotland and overseas, including The Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh, and the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow. In 2004 he was made an associate of the Royal Scottish Academy and a full member in 2007.

Byrne is an Honorary Fellow of the GSA and the RIAS, and an Honorary Member of the RGI, and has received Honorary Doctorates from the universities of Paisley, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Strathclyde.