John Kinross Scholar in 2001

Brian Grassom, Pharmakos

I was delighted to receive the award, as at the time it gave a much-needed boost to my confidence as an art practitioner and as an MA student at Gray’s School of Art. Because my MA studies continued throughout the summer of 2001, I deferred the visit to Florence for one year. I stayed in Florence for several weeks, and had the opportunity afforded by that length of time to visit many sites I would not otherwise have experienced: for example, the monastery of San Marco; and the murals of Benozzo Gozzoli in the Chapel of the Magi, Palazzo Medici Riccardi. Having firsthand access to these and the many other figure compositions in museums, churches, and other places greatly benefitted my work as a figurative painter, which also often contains an element of Italian architectural form. It helped to confirm my view that figurative painting can evolve as a permanent aspect of fine art – a truth very pertinent to thinking about placing one’s work in contemporary art practice: and my philosophical view that Renaissance humanism touches upon sempiternal things – i.e. human nature and the human form – which will be with us for the foreseeable future, and therefore always a source of artistic inspiration.

I am very glad the Kinross Scholarship exists. The ethos and tradition of such a scholarship is a treasure in today’s world.