Born in Belfast N.Ireland in 1945, just after the end of the Second World War. His Father was a shop-keeper.
His big passion in early life was playing the banjo, and any job was merely a method to fund the banjo playing. He wanted, with a desperation, a Paragon banjo – because this was the banjo played by Barney Mckenna of the Dubliners , who was his hero.
Eventually in the late 60’s, he did get his Paragon, by borrowing the money from his Father . I really loved this thing, and most of his spare time was spent practising and learning new tunes. He had a little room at the back of the house which was his alone, and here he played the banjo and also painted a little bit. His first sale of a painting was to his Auntie Jean. She paid 10 shillings (50 pence in today’s money).
In his late teens, he went off to Iceland to work in the Fish Factories, complete with banjo and a change of clothes. The plan was to go there ,work hard, and return home with lots of money. Sadly, it didn’t work out that way – he came home with no money. So, it was back to working at any job he could find for a while.
At this time, Sloan’s interests expanded a little into Taxidermy. He was fascinated by the idea of setting up a bird or mammal into a realistic pose.
As this interest grew, he became quite proficient – so much so, that when a position for the taxidermist in the Ulster Museum became available , he was hired There are a good few specimens of his on show in the Ulster Museum, including Peter, the Polar Bear.
During all this time, he continued to paint and in the late 1980’s he made the decision to paint professionally. Initially, he painted from his home in Comber, and this was the Watercolour Period.
In 1998, he moved the West of to Ireland. This was a wonderful opportunity for any painter. He was Inspired by the light and the ruggedness of the landscape and the fact that many of the old skills, such as turf-cutting and small scale farming, with just a few cattle or sheep, are still very much a part of the way of life in the West of Ireland .
Sloan had always used a delicate palette in his watercolours, but this seemed to be inadequate to capture the wildness of Donegal. At this point he moved to oil paints. During this time he was offered the opportunity to illustrate a story for the book ‘Magical Tales of Ireland’ published by Random House. The story was called ‘Wherever ‘ and was written by Kate Thompson.
Now, once again, working and living on the East Coast – he paints in both oils and watercolour as the mood takes him and he still plays the banjo!