Early influences

Small details from three paintings

From left to right: Egypt station, 1998, Sea god, 1990, Megalithic driftwood, 1993

"I felt that only people who'd gone to art college were allowed to paint" - Sir Paul McCartney

In the early years of The Beatles, John Lennon and former member Stuart Sutcliffe attended art college. Paul consequently felt inhibited by his lack of formal art training - a block he only conquered later in life. The irony is, he didn't have any formal music training either, but this failed to prevent him from becoming one of the most influential and pioneering songwriters of all time!

During the sixties he became friendly with art critic, John Dunbar and gallery owner Robert Fraser. Through their circle of influential friends and young artists, Paul became familiar with contemporary art, meeting people like Peter Blake and Richard Hamilton who were to later design covers for The Beatles' albums. Sgt Pepper and Abbey Road were both based on ideas that Paul developed with them.

Paul would spend lots of time at the Fraser and Indica galleries, helping with the installation of exhibits and feeding his enthusiasm for the medium. He began collecting and bought a number of paintings by the surrealist painter Magritte, whose influence on Paul's own painting is considerable.

Painting of a train platform with a man, animals, flowers and a bright sun

A Magritte picture of a big green apple, bought by Paul from Robert Fraser became the inspiration behind The Beatles' world-famous Apple logo. Linda McCartney later bought Magritte's easel and spectacles for her husband, to encourage him to take up painting.

As one of the most charismatic figures of the day, Fraser worked with many exciting names in contemporary art and even introduced Paul to Andy Warhol. They spent the evening watching one of Warhol's movies on Paul's home projection system. Warhol appears in Paul's 1990 painting, 'Andy in the garden'.