Gemma Coyle, Chrysler Horse Drawn, 2009, mixed media

John Kinross Scholar in 2005


How did the experience affect you as an individual?
My John Kinross Scholarship was for the last three months in 2005, just after I had finished my Masters in Art at Edinburgh College of Art. It was an exciting time. I had received the Andrew Grant Bequest Travel Scholarship earlier in the year so had just spent time in Basel.

During my time in Florence I had to fly to London as I had been selected to exhibit in an exhibition ‘Braveart’. I flew straight back to continue my time in Florence after the opening.

Having the opportunity to, not only, visit such an impressive city such as Florence but actually live there for three months, fully immersing myself in the culture, art and history was an extremely valuable experience.


Gemma Colye, 2 for Joy, RSA Collection

What was the impact on your practice?
We were able to access places such as the Uffizi Gallery, Accademia Gallery and The Pitti Palace which were a rich source of inspiration. I was also influenced by the whole city; the architecture, the people and the shops including a traditional Italian Board Game shop. I sketched everything and created a pure documentation of my experience, aspects of which I use regularly.

The experience naturally trickled down into my work and I have created pieces which have come directly from the experience of my Scholarship, including a commissioned piece for The Dick Institute which was exhibited in the exhibition ‘Eyepoppers’.

During my time in Florence, having no distractions, I was able to focus and I applied for several Creative Opportunities. One included having a book that I had created (‘Don’t mind the Mule’) published by Something Haptic, which is now available in Libraries throughout the UK.


What would you say the long term impact has been on yourself and your work?
While on my Scholarship I also visited the Villa Demidoff, where Giambologna’s Giant 16th-Century ‘Colossus’ Sculpture is displayed. It was being exposed to visuals such as this, as well as everything I have already mentioned, that has stayed with me. This has not only affected me personally but also my artistic practice.