Glasgow & West Scotland

John Lowrie Morrison in pledge to Glasgow School of Art

GSA and Jolomo
Image caption John Lowrie Morrison (top right) has pledged financial support to the Mackintosh Appeal

A renowned Scottish artist is to donate some profits from his exhibitions to help restore Glasgow School of Art's (GSA) fire-damaged Mackintosh building.

John Lowrie Morrison, who studied at the school between 1967 and 1972, said he was "close to tears" when he heard about the fire on 23 May.

He has encouraged others to support The Mackintosh Appeal, which aims to raise about £20m in donations.

GSA estimates the cost of restoring the building to be between £20m and £35m.

The pledge by the artist, who is known as Jolomo, came after Hollywood star Brad Pitt and Dr Who actor Peter Capaldi, also a former student, were unveiled as trustees of the appeal.

He said: "I heard the news on radio in my studio. I had to stop painting, I was close to tears.

Image copyright PA/GSA
Image caption Brad Pitt and Peter Capaldi have agreed to be trustees of the Mackintosh appeal

"The Mack made me who I am, it has a big place in my heart. I'm here, a successful artist painting the Scottish landscape, because of all I got from the Mackintosh building and the people in it - and the teachers who are there now are continuing to do that for folks like myself."

The artist called on other former students to rally round and support the appeal.

'Give something back'

"They will restore the building, and it's up to the alumni to help fund it," he said.

"It has done so much for so many artists over the years, it's time to give something back. People who benefited should be helping out now, even a few pounds adds up."

The painter will give a percentage of the proceeds from Jolomo in the Hebrides, which opens on Saturday at MacGregor Fine Art in Glasgow, and several other exhibitions this year, to the fund.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Firefighters managed to save 90% of the structure and 70% of its contents

GSA estimates that the final bill to restore the Mackintosh could reach £35m and work could last four years.

Art school director Professor Tom Inns said: "We have been overwhelmed by the offers of support that we have received since the fire last month.

"We are very grateful for this wonderfully generous offer from John Lowrie Morrison which will help us to ensure that, like him, future generations of students can study and make work in the inspirational Mackintosh building."

After graduating from GSA, Jolomo worked for 25 years in art education before leaving to paint full-time in 1997.

Fire service honoured

Celebrities such as Sting, Madonna and Rick Stein are among those who have bought his work, which features distinctive colourful landscapes of Scotland.

Meanwhile, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service has been honoured for its "outstanding work" in helping protect the Mackintosh building.

Firefighters managed to save 90% of the iconic structure and 70% of its contents during a lengthy operation on 23 May.

On Wednesday night, the service was given a special presentation by the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS) at its annual awards dinner.

RIAS president Iain Connelly said: "The value of Glasgow School of Art goes well beyond the city or even Scotland.

"It is a work of architectural heritage of world renown and its influence on 20th Century architecture is immeasurable. It reflects the genius of one of our greatest ever architects.

"The whole of the architectural profession in Scotland will, I am sure, join with me in congratulating the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service for the extraordinary work they did on that terrible day as the rest of the world could only look on. We are forever in their debt."

Dave Boyle, from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, said everyone involved in the operation was "very grateful" for the special recognition and had been "humbled and overwhelmed" by kindness following their efforts.

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