John Kinross Scholar in 1993
How did the experience affect you as an individual?
Being selected for the residency was a significant boost for my confidence after a slightly disappointing degree classification. It felt like someone recognised the potential in my work and gave me hope for the future. It was an important step on the journey to becoming an artist and helped to bridge the gap after graduation. This was my first experience of Italy and I was struck by the heady mix of high culture, religious iconography and tourist tat.
What was the impact on your practice?
The residency in Florence was seminal experience for me and encouraged me to pursue other residency opportunities both in Scotland and abroad. The exposure to Renaissance Art and architecture had a profound influence on my practice and it took several years for the experience to filter into my work. In particular, viewing the chisel marks on Michelangelo’s dying slaves revealed the hand of the artist and highlighted how skilfully he traced the contours of the form. The experience of standing before these figures can never be captured through the medium of photography and experiencing them in the flesh highlights the agency inherent in an original artwork.
What would you say the long term impact has been on yourself and you work?
The experience in Florence has fuelled my fascination with the power of expression and the emotive potential of the human form. In the age of 3D printing and robotic carving arms it is becoming increasingly important for me to reveal the hand-carved aspect of the work and utilise the play of light on surface. Leaving the chisel marks helps to reveal the process and gives a glimpse of how the work was created. I was also exposed to the medieval polychrome wood sculptures and this was the inspiration behind me painting the sculptures. The technique uses CMYK printing inks sprayed onto the surface to replicate the colour spectrum of printed imagery