Arthur Watson PPRSA has been a presiding voice in Scottish contemporary art for the best part of half a century, providing impetus for a host of artist-led organisations and projects. 


Arthur Watson PPRSA: ‘An engagement with ephemeral elements within Scottish culture continues to inform my work as an artist. Language and song, orally transmitted, landscape constantly changing in light and weather or processes, described but rarely seen, all have relevance. I am consistently challenged in embedding this content within contemporary artworks whether in print, installation or performance. This internal debate is conducted within the pages of an extended series of sketchbooks, which also guide seemingly endless reworkings, as new elements are added while original parts are modified or discarded. Each work building its own history.’


Arthur Watson studied Printmaking and Printed Textiles at Gray's School of Art, Aberdeen. In 1974 he was the principal founding member of Peacock Printmakers, an artists' print workshop, publisher and gallery, collaborating directly with over 100 artists and leading many international projects. Watson was also a founding board member of both the Scottish Sculpture Workshop and the 369 Gallery. In 1990 he represented Scotland at the Venice Biennale; in 1995 he was appointed Course Director of the Master of Fine Arts programme at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, Dundee, before becoming Head of Graduate Studies in Fine Art in 2000. He established the Centre of Artists Books and Fine Art publishing at the Visual Research Centre with projects including the Great Book of Gaelic for the Gaelic Arts Agency and Voices of Scotland for the Scottish Executive. 


Watson was President of the Royal Scottish Academy from 2012 to 2018.