GILLIAN NICOL

John Kinross Scholar in 1997

 

How did the experience affect you as an individual?
The scholarship gave me the confidence to say that I was an artist. Having the support of an institution gave validation to my practice and helped convince people who perhaps thought I should get a ‘proper’ job that my work was worthy of support.

The experience of living and travelling in Italy was formative. Having the opportunity to be somewhere for a period of time (with no other purpose than to be out drawing, taking photos and studying the art and architecture of a place, spending time in museums and churches, observing light and landscape) gave me experience of self-motivated research and working outside of the art school environment. It gave me a good work ethic and sense of discipline to get on with making work outside of the formal structure art school had given me before.

 

What was the impact on your practice?
Visually the experience continued to affect my work for many years: the forms and structures of architecture I’d immersed myself in; the connections made from spending time in a space or landscape and fully absorbing it; fragments of memory.

Whilst I am now working in the visual arts and not currently practising as an artist, the foundation of practice I gained through self-motivated study on the scholarship is a life-long resource.

 

What would you say the long term impact has been on yourself and you work?
The support gave me a strong sense of the importance of structures or schemes that validate an artist’s practice and financial support in helping artists at critical points in their careers. It’s informed my work in the visual arts sector developing support methods and materials, professional development events, networks and bursary programmes for artists.