Bruce McLean was born in Glasgow, studied at the local art school, and later undertook postgraduate studies at St Martin’s School of Art in London. He found the attitude there ponderous: "Twelve adult men with pipes would walk for hours around sculpture and mumble". In reaction he turned to making sculpture out of rubbish, to performance art and producing photographic works in which he often posed. All his work brilliantly sent up the pompousness in art. From the late 1970s he has made paintings and prints in which wit and humour remain central.