BACK in the 1970s and 1980s when he was growing up in and around Glasgow Vincent Deighan had woodchip wallpaper in his bedroom.

“It was emulsioned white,” he recalls, “and I used to pick it off so the bit beside the bed had all these wee fawn cardboard coloured holes in it.”  He was not allowed to draw on it however.

Times change. It is now 2018 and all these years later he is standing in a room in the soon-to-open Radisson Red hotel at Finnieston Quay in Glasgow and there is no woodchip in sight. But Deighan should feel right at home. Because the wallpaper is very much to his taste. It should be. He designed it, after all.

If you book one of the 174 rooms in the hotel when it opens in April, you will have the added bonus of digital wallpaper designed by Deighan himself. The comic book artist, better known as Frank Quitely, has been commissioned by the hotel to provide bespoke designs for the rooms and public spaces.

And so, in each room distinctively Quitely-esque characters can be seen cavorting in front of and around distinctly Glaswegian architecture. Young women in masks and eyepatches ride scooters, while old wifies play air guitar with their umbrellas in front of the Glasgow coat of arms. As Deighan told The Herald earlier this week: “There’s a general party atmosphere with a little bit of humour.”

“There’s a kind of all the world’s a stage feeling to it,” he adds. Which is all very appropriate as the hotel is right on the doorstep of the SEC Hydro (indeed, there’s a fine view down the Clyde from the Skybar on the top floor)

The designs, which run along hotel walls and even across hotel wardrobes, could easily fit in one of the artist’s hyper-real superhero spreads in The X Men or Batman. (Note to Radisson Red, have you thought about commissioning your own comic strip?)

 Jim Hamilton, from Glasgow design company Graven who was charged with the interior design was inspired to commission Deighan after a visit to the major retrospective of Deighan’s work staged at the Kelvingrove museum last year.

“Jim is a big fan of drawing,” Deighan explains, “and he has a teenage son who’s a big fan of comics and various other geek interests. The two of them went along to see my show in Kelvingrove. And part of Jim’s brief from the Forrest group was to decorate the rooms in such a way that is different from most hotels.”

To that end Hamilton then encouraged Donald Stewart, managing director of Forrest Developments and director of Forrest Hotels, the company behind Radisson Red, to do the same.

 “Jim Hamilton said: ‘you have to go and see this exhibition at Kelvingrove Gallery,” Stewart recalls, “which we did, and we got it we got it very quickly.

“I’ve been used to staying in hotels all over the world. Hotel art might not be good, but it is something that is instilled in what you expect in a hotel room - that washed out picture of nothing. So, coming from that and seeing what we’re proposing for Glasgow was a bit of an eye opener. It was a pleasurable shock.”

Deighan is still working on the art for the hotel’s public spaces. They will have more movement than the designs for the bedrooms, he says. “We felt that some kind of flow lends itself better [to the public spaces], so we’ve got flocks of people and bits and pieces of iconic Glaswegian architecture as well.”

Since completing work on the Mark Millar scripted series Jupiter’s Legacy, Deighan has been devoting much of his time to the hotel project. He has, however, also been working on new comic covers and even has a design for a beer can on the drawing board. A new career in interior design is not cards. Not yet at any rate.

Still, if he could get another comic book artist to design wallpaper (woodchipped or not) who would Deighan choose? “One of the artists from Mad Magazine because that was my favourite. Jack Davies or Mort Drucker.”



“The wallpaper in my childhood bedroom was woodchip, so even if I'd been allowed to draw on the walls, which I wasn't, it wouldn't be easy with all those little bumps.
"But in our house, we did have a great tradition of drawing on the walls on the occasions when a room was getting redecorated.
“My two big sister and I would get big marker pens and draw all sorts of huge cartoon drawings all over the old wallpaper before it was stripped off.
“Typically, my sisters would do nice stuff like butterflies and houses with tree swings, and I'd do cutting caricatures of our mum and dad, neighbours and teachers.
“I remember reading a Broons story some years later where Paw let Horace, the twins and the bairn draw all over the walls while he went out to buy new wallpaper. It ended with Maw (black-affronted) sitting with a couple of amazingly posh old ladies sipping tea in a room full of graffiti. Obviously, that struck a chord with me.”

The Radisson Red Hotel opens in April.