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‘I thought I might as well get a job here. seeing as l was forever in places like this anyway.’ Though few of the punters passing through the hallowed portals ofthe National Gallery would guess it. Raymond Hutchinson the softly spoken security guard watching over the work of the Masters. is something of an artist himself. 'I just used to paint in the street ‘cause I didn't have a studio. you know. I‘d just tie my easel to a lamp-post and start painting.‘ A graduate of the Inverleith Boys‘ Art Club where he studied under ‘a bit ofa Bible-thumper‘. Raymond has had no formal training. Yet his works have been shown alongside John Houston's and Elizabeth Blackadder‘s.

In spite ofsuch success. Hutchinson is not one to get hung up over gallery showings. ‘I really just do it for pleasure and as long as I can cover my costs I‘m happy. There‘s been times when I‘ve had an overdraft as long as my arm. or an exhibition where. though [We sold a few. I got back twelve quid after Gallery costs. ‘I work shifts so I get a day off now and then and just stand out there selling them or take two weeks of my holidays during the Festival.‘

The neo-classical Playfair building has been his place of travail for the last ten years. prior to that he worked as a printmakers‘ storeman in Thistle Street. ‘I was always drawing or sketching and one day l was taken into the office and the manager‘s desk was piled up high with all these drawings and sketches ofmine. and he says. “where‘d you get the time to do these?” and I says. ‘er. . . in'my lunchbreak.‘They nearly sacked me.‘

Originally. some of the paintings that he spent all day guarding influenced him. though latterly more contemporary artists have held sway over his style. Does he fancy seeing one ofworks hung in the National? ‘No. I‘d have to be deid first.‘ (Ross Parsons)

Raymond Hutchinson 's Prints and Sketches will be exhibited at the Theatre Workshop. Hamilton Place. 1—30 Nov.


The List 27 October 9 November 1%") 73