John Kinross Scholar in 2012
Katie Ward, Akos, mixed media on board, 71 x 101cm
How did the experience affect you as an individual?
The John Kinross Scholarship experience was transformative. Having spent four years studying and developing my practice in an academic context, the opportunity to embark on a self directed venture upon graduating provided the crucial next step of my journey as I sought to establish an artistic career.
Being invested in as an individual gave me the confidence to set ambitious goals and most importantly the momentum to keep working. I was conscious that the transition from art school student to practising artist could be challenging and it is sadly a period where many graduates are beset with hurdles in pursuit of a creative pathway. The support of the RSA JKS helped me to continue developing my work, whilst in Italy and upon return as a recipient of a Residences for Scotland Award.
The Scholarship also expanded my creative network as I worked alongside seven other talented individuals from a variety of disciplines. We spent time learning from each other, and the different ways of approaching our work. Thus, a strong bond was formed, which still holds strong today.
What was the impact on your practice?
Observation has always been an essential part of my artistic practice, with the content of my pieces acting as a reflection on my direct experience of place. The Scholarship acted as a springboard for development as I was immersed into a completely new visual and cultural environment with the freedom to explore and experiment. My work began to radically evolve as responded intuitively to document and catalogue the experience, creating new visual journeys with shape, form, colour and texture.
The most notable impact came from my use of colour. Prior to the experience, my palette was dominated by rich earthy hues, influenced by my home in the Scottish Highlands. However the fullness of the Mediterranean sunlight allowed me to observe colour in a whole new way and I immediately introduced bright hues to my collection and began applying pure, unadulterated colour. These pigments and paints were bought at the infamous the Zecchi store and then transported back to Scotland.
What would you say the long term impact has been on yourself and you work?
The connections I made on the Scholarship have continued to support me as a working artist. One friendship actually led to a studio share- when I moved to Aberdeen and reached out to Ade, who I met as a fellow scholar. Overall, I would say that the experience has opened up opportunities that may not have otherwise been available to me.
My works have always varied in scale; however I had always favoured working on large pieces. I feel that the Scholarship pushed me to find a way to approach my creative process to conform to size restrictions, for practical reasons, which has led me to be more flexible with scale now.