Laing was one of Britain’s best-known pop artists. His life began in the military; joining the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers in 1955, following in his father’s footsteps. However, he realised that a military life was not suited to him and he went to St Martins School of Art in London. During his academic life, he was introduced to some of the most influential pop artists of the 1960s, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Robert Indiana. With the help of his new-found friends, his career as a pop artist took off.
Laing later moved into minimalist sculpting, and then representational and portrait sculpture. In his later life, Laing found himself returning once again to pop art. He began with a series of anti-war paintings, but moved towards portraiture. In 2004, following on from his earlier iconic work depicting Brigitte Bardot, he sensed the potential power of the ill-fated Amy Winehouse as a modern icon. He created a series of some of his most famous paintings. In 2014, Laing’s aforementioned Brigitte Bardot was sold at Christie’s auction house in London for an unprecedented £902,500.