Monthly Archives: August 2020

Profile on Scottish artist Julian McLaughlan

Ayrshire artist Julian McLaughlan is a great young art talent making a name for himself in the Scottish art world for his depictions of his experiences and emotions in a modernist painting style.

His first few showcases have been sell out events and his works are now selling throughout Europe and making their way to the US. As a bright new talent our reporter Jamie McGeechan caught up with Julian McLaughlan to find out what inspires Julian’s work.

Can you tell me a wee bit about yourself and how you got into painting?


Hello my name is Julian McLaughlan, I’m primarily an abstract artist and I come from Kilwinning, Ayrshire in Scotland. I’ve had a passion for art and expression all my life. I found I had a talent and flair for art while I was at school in Ayrshire and always felt it was my strongest subject. It was during high school that my talent was getting known due to my portraiture work and it all really started from there. After school my first job was as an industrial spray painter, but I never gave up on my art and would focus on my creativity at every opportunity. I started to get a lot of requests for canvas portraits and found that people were really keen on portraits of their favorite musicians and family members but I found myself needing a new challenge artistically. The answer to that was abstract art! Picasso and Jackson Pollock play a certain influence in some of my works although I’d never studied them at school.

With pieces like ‘Frustration’ and ‘Anxiety’ you explore the human condition and health issues in your work. Do you see art as a therapeutic process / and are you inspired by your own experiences? 


I see abstract as the ultimate freedom within the artistic world ! For me yes it’s therapeutic as like many people I suffer with anxiety. When I started experiencing anxiety I wasn’t even sure what was going on with me I just knew something wasn’t right and I didn’t feel well but art has really helped me to process and understand myself better. When I started to explore my anxiety through art I was struck by just how much it seemed to resonate with other people. To have feedback from people that one of my pieces has moved them it really means the world to me. Due to my own experiences with mental health I never really run out of material. I made a deal with myself one day to never preplan my work, just to let it flow on the canvas and I have been doing that ever since, it’s pure freedom.

An incredible short film by the wonderful Ayrshire based film maker Brendan Behan from All In Film exploring Julian and his work.

Do you think art can help other people to recognise and understand that they are not alone and that art can actually help people to understand themselves a wee bit better?

From my experience abstract art has helped me profoundly – it channels my bad thoughts , anger, sadness and my happiness into something potentially beautiful. That other people can relate to it is just incredible and I really do think art can help people profoundly.

Can you describe what it was like showcasing your work publicly for the first time and what that meant to you, what it means to you going forward?

One day I received an email from a company in Glasgow called ‘Spaces’, telling me how much they loved my anxiety painting and asking if I would be interested in showing my art. I was stunned that someone out there wanted to give me an opportunity to exhibit my work. I think that’s generally the case for all artists initially, the world recognizing what you do, it’s an incredulous feeling. That very first showcase in Glasgow was a real exhibition of my work exploring mental health and wellbeing and when 100 people turned up to see my work it was as you can imagine almost overwhelming but such a great experience for me. I feel like I put my life on canvas so to have people come to share and celebrate that, it’s the most wonderful feeling in the world. My first ever show was a sell out ! I am so thankful to Spaces in Glasgow and the amazing opportunity they gave me, I am forever in there debt. 

How do you feel society deals with people who are going through mental health issues and in Scotland in particular do you feel society is supportive or can we do more?

It seems in the last year or so society has became more aware of mental health and more willing to embrace and engage with it and understanding the effects it has on people. I think it’s a conversation we need to develop and I think we can all do our bit by showing that we are there for each other, not only with our friends and family but as a society as a whole. Knowing the someone cares, it’s powerful. I hope in some small way my artwork can help to keep the conversation going and to help people understand that they are not alone in their emotions and struggles. We’re all just trying to make our way through life and certainly art continues to be such a rewarding medium for me. I’m grateful to everyone who shows an interest in what I do.

Finally what are your future plans and what are your aspirations for the future? What are your dreams for your art?

I don’t know what the future holds for me but I’m certainly going to continue to express myself and tell my story through painting. My dream is for my paintings to be seen all over the world and for my next showcase to be in New York City.

Follow Julian’s art and journey at www.facebook.com/JMjrart

Kodak Ghosts – The Glasgow Gals

Kodak Ghosts are an exciting young duo from Glasgow who have just released their new single and music video for ‘Till the Morning Comes’ and it’s wonderful.

Kodak Ghosts aka Sabrina and Erin have been hailed as the future of Scottish pop music and this music video filmed in Glasgow is a delight. With strong support for the single from BBC Radio Scotland with recent appearances on The Afternoon Show with Janice Forsyth and Vic Galloway’s Scotland Introducing Show it’s clear that Sabrina and Erin are really making waves in the Scottish music scene at the moment.

Kodak Ghosts – Till the Morning Comes

Hey all, come get sucked into the TV with us to a sugary sweet paper world 🍭 Caution: May make your hair 3 shades brighter or 3 sizes bigger 💁🏽‍♀️🎥 – @vasilisaforbes & @georgeharwooddp Link to single:http://hyperurl.co/z0ajm8

Posted by Kodak Ghosts on Friday, August 14, 2020
https://www.facebook.com/2290709794355232/videos/297169554938131


Our music ambassador Jamie McGeechan caught up with them for a quick Q&A all about Kodak Ghosts!

How would you describe the Kodak Ghosts sound? 

Sabrina: “Our music revolves around spreading joy and happiness. The idea of creating a community is important to us, we want people to feel included and uplifted when listening to us.”

Erin: “Our main goal is to create a space where people can join us, let their hair down and be a bit wacky for a while. Things today are hard, especially due to Covid, we want to be a respite from that stress and give people a place where they can relax and enjoy. With the video we made for Till the Morning Comes we were portraying this concept in a very literal way – we want people to come join us in our world.”

What influences your songwriting and what artists are you a fan of?

Sabrina: “We take inspiration from artists from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s (Blondie, ABBA, Cher, Dolly Parton) and combine it with our love of modern music (mine being Jorga Smith and Dua Lipa whereas Erin listens to MARINA and Florence & the Machine).”

Erin: “Our own personal artistic backgrounds (Sabrina’s in acting, mine in art) means our influences also come from the worlds of theatre, film, fine art and dance. Anything and everything is an influence and I think that allows us to keep coming up with new and fun ideas. We write with producer and songwriter Derek Fleming, and due to the collaborative nature of our writing it becomes a melting pot of positivity. Over the years we have mastered who we are as a team and the writing and recording process just gets more and more exciting.”

As brilliant Scottish talents with a fantastic future ahead of you what are your hopes and dreams for the future?

Sab: “World Domination. But in all seriousness we want to hear our music played all over the world and spread good vibes. I’m also excited to see the evolution of the performance field in general,  lockdown has encouraged artists to think outside the box, explore different platforms of creativity and alternative ways of expression. I’m here for all of it!

Erin: “You’re too lovely saying that! You know what Cindy Lauper says ‘Girls just want to have fun’. We want to spread positivity as far as we can, and get the world dancing. Once Covid has settled down a bit I think it would be great to start gigging again, but who knows what that will look like in the next few years. As actors and artists we want to create an experience and have people from all walks of life together feeling the joy of Kodak Ghosts.”

Erin as a student of The Glasgow School of Art does the history / innovation of GSA influence your music? 

Erin: “Absolutely. We were recently compared to new wave/pop duo Strawberry Switchblade from the 80’s as Jill Bryson studied at GSA. That GSA environment of being surrounded by other creatives, many also musicians, really pushes and motivates you. Because of this, quite a lot of bands have some sort of Art School background. John Lennon was a student at Liverpool College of Art, and although he never completed the course it still counts.”

Sabrina what has been your most enjoyable experience so far?

Sabrina: “For me the most enjoyable experience in our Kodak Ghosts journey so far has been filming the music video for Till the Morning Comes. As an actress it’s always interesting to encounter different platforms of performing that combine both music and acting. So even though I was playing myself in the video, it was an exaggerated version of myself and it was interesting to discover this new yet familiar person. Sort of like Beyonce has Sasha fierce as her alter ego for when she’s performing, I’ve found mine. Name pending.”

How does Scotland influence the Kodak Ghosts Sound?

Sabrina: “I am dual nationality – Congolese and Scottish – and I wear them both proudly on my sleeve. Within Kodak Ghosts I try to inject both my Congolese and Scottish culture into our aesthetic. For the video we really focused on the image of a tenement building, a longstanding symbol of Glasgow, and how we could twist that in our own colourful, quirky way.”

Erin: “We are always authentically ourselves and part of that is our Scottish heritage and culture. We draw inspiration from the Scottish bands of the 70’s and 80’s as well as the bands that surround us today. I personally have always had a love for Scottish folk music, and of course the unicorn. I can’t tell you how happy it makes me that the unicorn is our national animal. It is important to be proud of where you come from and we are proud Scots, waving the Saltire for all to see.”

For more info on Kodak Ghosts see their Facebook page www.facebook.com/KodakGhostss

Sounds From Scotland August

Each month the American Scottish Foundation presents a monthly online concert under our Sounds From Scotland banner.

The Sounds From Scotland online monthly concerts are brand new platform from which we showcase and celebrate wonderful live music direct from Scotland! The concerts take place live on our Facebook platform at www.facebook.com/americanscottish on the third Sunday of each month from 3pm – 5pm EST.

We were thrilled to joined by Whisky Kiss, Chris Andreucci, Matt Scott and Paul McGranaghan for our August Sounds From Scotland. You can see the performances as well as previous Sounds From Scotland performances on our dedicated ASF Magazine page here.