Born in Kirkcaldy in Fife, Alan was brought up in Aberdeen where he also went to university. After leaving full-time study he worked abroad for many years in community development and with social and community enterprises. Alan has always been interested in painting, drawing and sculpture and has followed various courses with the Open College of the Arts, the continuing education programme at Edinburgh College of Art, part-time study at Leith School of Art and with other art tutors. He was based in Edinburgh and shared a studio at St Margaret's House. In February 2020 he moved south and is now based in Suffolk.