John Kinross Scholar in 2016
Garden of England (Seasonal Labour), oil on canvas, 2020
How did the experience affect you as an individual?
Receiving the John Kinross Scholarship was a vote of confidence in me as an artist. This was a great motivation for me, straight out of art school. Going to Florence for over a month was the first time I had travelled alone and I learned my own strengths as well as gaining from the visual and cultural experience.
What was the impact on your practice?
My time in Florence put me in an extremely rich visual space, with so much to absorb and notice. I had originally wanted to go to study the frescoes of Fra Angelico, and I did spend a lot of time doing so. By reading about what I was looking at, and exploring the preserved Early Renaissance contributions to the city, I also gained an understanding of the correlation between changes in visual art – in perspective, colour, and form – and changes in society and its power structures. I was surrounded by work made before the sharp distinction between craft and art developed, and seeing the many functions that visual art could have in a society gave me a sense of perspective, allowing me to be better informed about my own work and to question my received ideas about visual aesthetics.
What would you say the long term impact has been on yourself and your work?
In Florence I thought a lot about the integration of visual art into architecture and its function for the society of the 1400s, particularly as a carrier of narrative. This gave me a slow-burning wish to create work with narrative potential and I’m now beginning to see that taking shape in my paintings. In Florence I definitely learned to question any assumptions about what is old and new in painting, and what is serious subject matter, and I carry those lessons with me. As a person, the scholarship encouraged me to look further afield, and I am now completing a Master in Fine Art in Bergen, Norway.