Born in Muar, West Malaysia in 1939, to Eurasian parents Ian lived in Malaya and Singapore under both Japanese occupation and British Colonial rule for the first 15 years of his life. He migrated to Australia aged 16 to join a minor seminary college in NSW where he studied to be a Redemptorist missionary priest. During those formative years Ian painted for the Church, creating massive sacred images for religious ceremonies. He left at age 20 and studied art at Perth Technical College and WAIT and then traveled widely, painting and performing as a musician all over the world. He returned to Perth in 1981 and focused intensively on his painting, drawing upon both Western and Asian traditions of art. His arts practice as an exhibiting artist and art teacher spans over 30 years.