Scottie Wilson is an internationally-known Canadian outsider artist. Like all outsider artists, Wilson took a circuitous route to creating his art. He was born in London in 1888, moved to Glasgow, and left school at age 8 to sell newspapers and patent medicines on the street. He served in WWI and it is believed he deserted the Black and Tans in Ireland because he could not, in good conscience, carry out their orders. Nothing else is known about Wilson until he turned up in Toronto, Canada 13 years later, in the 1930s. He eked out a living by selling odds and ends in a Toronto junk shop. He collected fountain pens, which he sold in his shop or stripped for gold. His life changed while doodling with one of his fountain pens one day; he found he couldn’t stop drawing the faces and shapes that flowed from his pen.
Wilson died in 1972. Although he complained of poverty his entire life, a suitcase full of money was found under his bed after his death, as well as large sums of money in various bank accounts.