Tim Sanderson
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About John Collinson

The John Collinson I knew had lived in Salford all his life. He often talked about leaving, but somehow never did.
He was, in a strange way, the embodiment of that soulful and troubled place. He was close to the ground, egalitarian, seditious, darkly humorous. A self proclaimed 'positive iconoclast' or as my nan might say, "... a rum bugger."

John's earlier life as a shift worker, husband and father of two, was soon derailed by his artistic curiosity. Made manifest in an insatiable thirst for life's pleasures. He explored the experience of being through drinking, drug taking, womanizing, conversation, argument and outright provocation.

John was an autodidact. A voracious reader, a sporadic writer, a poet and a sometime painter and sculptor. His was a unique and somewhat old fashioned education. He found what he needed where ever it was to be found: As likely in a pub snug, as in a library or lecture hall. He dipped in and out of art schools in Salford and Manchester. Enrolling in countless degrees and diplomas and occasionally studying his inherited trade of plumber. He was an uncontrollable source of irritation for the administrators, and a catalyst for the fiery young minds of his peers. John was a fag break orator, a pub preacher. Exercising and exorcising his own demons in a very public way. He had an intuitive feel for materials and a craftsman's knowledge of technique and application. Yet he was somewhat embarrassed by his talents and his lack of self belief (or vision of a greater meaning?) often brought projects to a premature end.

In later years, it seemed to me that John occupied some kind of shamanic role. Living as he did on the edge of the community, yet always an important part of it. John was known to people from all social circles, and places far beyond Salford. Even people who were very different from him and perhaps quite appalled by certain aspects of his life would value him for his humanity, his erudition and frankness. He got involved with people, got under their skin. Freely giving of himself and his time.

Above all else, John was a devout pursuer of truth. He followed it recklessly on its spiral through his own life, to the light and dark places with equal passion. He often pointed to it ruthlessly in others: John the upsetter. Yet somehow he was always compassionate, he emanated a feeling of our connectedness to each other and beyond this to the underlying oneness of all things.

John Collinson drowned during his honeymoon in the summer of 2004, aged 39.

  John Collinson: Salford       The Book       Page Spreads 1       Page Spreads 2