John Kinross Scholar in 2018
How did the experience affect you as an individual?
As a young artist, it gave me the chance to experience the work of prevalent influential artists, like Michelangelo, Bellini, and Medardo Rosso, first hand and introduced me to many others who I had not encountered before. Today, we have easy access to reproductions of work but to experience works in the original context that they were created is a great privilege. I remember walking into the Medici Chapel, it was dimly lit and Michelangelo’s sculptures emerged out of the darkness, glowing. It felt like a sacred space and such atmosphere can never be captured on camera. This experience focused my attention to the importance the context in which we experience a work of art and left a lasting impression. Having never been to Italy, The John Kinross Scholarship gave me time to fully emerge myself in the culturally rich city with freedom and time to explore.
What was the impact on your practice?
In Florence every day I would take my sketchbooks to different museums and galleries to drew from sculptures. I brought this practice back with me, teaching a class ‘Drawing from Sculpture’ at the Kelvingrove museum in Glasgow. Now Living in London, I visit the V&A Gallery and draw from the plaster copies. I now have a personals connection with and experience of these influential masterpieces and have a greater appreciation for their place within art history. I am currently working with reference material from sketchbooks that I made while on the scholarship and developing drawings from memories of spaces that I encountered in Florence.
What would you say the long term impact has been on yourself and your work?
To find my own personal relationship with Italian renaissance art I have taken much inspiration from the unfinished slaves and pieta sculptures by Michelangelo. The experience has given me a visual gallery of references and a new visual language to work from, experienced within their original context. Without this experience I would not have the same connection to this historical period and an understanding of its influences on contemporary art; looking at artists like Berlinde de Bruyckere, I am thrown back to sitting in the Galleria Dell’Accamedia surrounded by human forms that feel animate and lifelike. The privilege to travel and be exposed to a different country and culture; to experience light and colour differently have all had an effect on me and therefore my art practice