Born in Wellington, New Zealand. His family later moved to Oamaru where he was educated at Waitaki Boys High School and taught painting by North Otago regionalist painter Colin Wheeler. Ewan attended Otago University while also working in freezing works and drumming in Rock bands. He gained an honors degree in Political Studies in 1971. He worked at Otago University as a junior lecturer and tutor before leaving to travel overseas.
Over the ensuing decade Ewan traveled extensively, working in mining, in pubs and on oilrigs. In the early 1980’s he returned to New Zealand with his partner, writer Sarah McDougall. In 1988 he was referred to Queen Mary Hospital at Hanmer Springs for treatment for addiction and while there he began to paint again. He has subsequently developed a vibrant signature style. ‘His witty, outrageous works are inhabited by a wealth of personal references to his often volatile life’. [Mark Amery]