Buchanan was born in Glasgow, where he lives and works. He studied in the Environmental Art Department of Glasgow School of Art and at the University of Ulster, Belfast. Buchanan produces work in a wide variety of media, including video, photography, sculpture and text. Formal sports and informal games feature strongly in his work, as a basis for examining how recreational activities express and communicate personal identity. In 2000 Buchanan was awarded the inaugural Beck's Futures Prize and a Paul Hamlyn Award in 2004. Over the years he has exhibited internationally, including solo shows in Europe, Asia and the United States. Recent exhibitions include Legacy, Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh (2012); Legacy, Imperial War Museum, London (2011) and Beyond Use, Ormeau Baths Gallery, Belfast (2008). He currently lives and works in Glasgow.