Graham Swain was born in January 1962 in Guildford, Surrey, England. The artist attended Portsmouth Art College to study painting after completing an honors degree in Architecture at Portsmouth University.
His diverse influences stem from a privileged education in Surrey, being the third son of a senior Scotland Yard detective, and his marriage to Emily, an actor from an acting family. His creative talents manifested early, with him serving as a treble soloist, singing and recording in prominent cathedrals across Holland, Belgium, and Northern France. These cathedrals include notable landmarks such as Notre Dame Paris, Chartres, Rheims, Laon, and the Palace of Fontainebleau. This musical experience was under the guidance of the renowned musicologist Nadia Boulanger.
Graham's art is characterized by qualities like line precision, mark-making, calligraphy, color harmony, proportion, and manipulation of perspective, all of which are integral when he crafts his contemporary, thought-provoking landscapes.
Sally-Ann Schilling, who holds an MA in History of Art from The Courtauld Institute of Art and has previously lectured at Tate Modern, London, describes Graham's art as follows:
"Graham's response to landscape is contemplative. Like an elaborate game of chess, works evolve through time. Creation becomes a challenge as every mark is considered, as the aesthetic process unravels towards sublime resolution. Graham's preoccupations are undoubtedly formal, but his technique relies on more than simply a conscious arrangement of shape and colour. Graham aims to intuitively distil the essence of his visual experience in a much more unlimited way. Landscape provides the ideal motif, unrestricted by figures or buildings, an exploration is permitted which ultimately pervades pure creation."