First published: Fall 2000
John McQuirk can talk. Not for him the tongue-tied introversion of the self-conscious artist or the mute autism of the affected recluse. It's my third visit to his cramped attic workroom ('studio' sounds too grand for the cluttered space) in a quiet backwater near London's Victoria.
While his wife Maureen serves me with a mug of coffee, McQuirk sits hunched on his stool, rolling himself a cigarette and delving into a fund of anecdotes from his itinerant years as labourer, door-to-door salesman and fairground barker.
I had already seen and marvelled at McQuirk's uniquely radiant paintings on board and canvas and the dense charcoal drawings on paper. I had learned that he would not or could not explain the details of the crowded spirit-world evoked by the pictures, except to say that the wellspring from which these visions poured was not his experiences on the road, colourful though they had been, but an overwhelming memory of childhood.
This is an article extract; read the full article in Raw Vision #32