2019 GRANT WINNERS
Congratulations to the three artists fleatured below, who have been awarded BAG grants for 2019
I am an illustrator based in Inverness, and graduated two years ago from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design. My practice has a strong focus on Scottish folk life and folklore, with particular emphasis on coastlines and industry. I work mainly with printmaking and as a mural artist. I am looking forward to developing my practice in the coming years and continuing my research on what makes the northern landscape and people so unique.
I will be using the Grant to take part in an intensive bronze casting course at Scottish Sculpture Workshop (SSW) in Lumsden, covering mould making, casting, pouring and patination. I am excited at the prospect of taking my mostly flat, illustrative work into a 3D context, expanding the possibilities for ways to realise my ideas. The stories objects can tell, such as industrial equipment used in fishing and crude objects forged using sand in Pictish times, will inform my practice as I learn to work with metal. I hope that these new skills will allow me to better understand the objects, tools and traditions that interest me and will give me greater creative scope as an artist.
I am creating the first in a series of larger scale, more intricately decorated ceramic pieces with a newly learned technique using incised plaster blocks as the plate to create 'slip cast drawings’ using liquid porcelain clay, in a process somewhere between drypoint and relief printing. Then I will experiment with using these printed clay slabs to build with, making the most of opportunities to further layer monoprints and drawings between firings. This new process has been invaluable in emphasising the connection between the two main aspects of my work - printing and drawing on handbuilt ceramic vessels and printing and drawing on paper. I plan to continue making drawings on paper alongside the work with clay, allowing both strands of my practise to continue developing as mutually supportive disciplines. The initial stage of this new process will culminate in one or two large scale decorative vessels and a series of drawings on paper, to be displayed alongside each other at the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair in October.
When I picked up 'The Silence and the Storm", considered to be the seminal work on Canadian artist Tom Thomson, for the first time, I saw the landscape. This, despite being raised in the Highlands and spending four years studying Art at Edinburgh Art College. Perhaps it's because his world was somehow comparable to mine: pale birch, nocturnes, the half-light, light inflated clouds, clouds full of weight and shape, snowfields, shadowlands, aloneness, wonder. After that first viewing, I looked at the world in a slightly different way. In fact, it was like I had never looked in the first place. An artist cannot do anything more significant than opening your eyes.
With Thomson, there is a real sense of unfinished business. He died at thirty-nine, falling out of his canoe. In a small way, I took his raw ingredients and ran with them. My work has morphed over the years but it still carries much of that early impetus. I feel it is time to investigate the connection further, because that first viewing has had lasting implications for my work. I want to visit Canada to see first-hand the environment Thomson worked in, challenge myself to work on a similar scale, but with my own agenda, bringing together ideas, images and information to culminate in an exhibition that would correlate Thomson's lasting icons with my own work today. The project will also increase the profile of my work, taking my work outside Britain, opening up an international aspect. It would help to unearth long buried questions about why I became an artist in the first place.