John Kinross Scholar in 2007
How did the experience affect you as an individual?
The RSA John Kinross Scholarship provided me with a supported transition to life after Art School and an immediate opportunity to develop my practice further. The financial support and access to Florence’s world leading art collections was a rare opportunity and I was determined to take full advantage of it. My time in Florence also marked the first time I had spent an extended period of time abroad and largely by myself too. It was therefore also a significant moment in my own personal development.
What was the impact on your practice?
My time in Florence had an immediate impact on my work. I had already been using a form for making that is familiar to the work the city is famous for, however, experiencing the architecture and art of the city in person, allowed me to reassess my interests and gain a fuller understanding of the potential that this way of making holds. I witnessed understated simplicity contrasted with the ornate; the visual ‘rules’ and obsession with symmetry that were strictly adhered to and these all played a role in expanding my knowledge and the points of reference in my work. I would draw intensively every day – without exception – interrupted only by a visit to a museum or gallery and I established a process that was a real development and felt like a step forward in my work.
What would you say the long term impact has been on yourself and you work?
I am always pushing myself to develop my work and discover new methods of working and forms for making to answer my research questions. That all said, thirteen years after my time on the John Kinross Scholarship, there are still references to the works and ideas I encountered during my time in Florence. On the occasions I have given public talks or been interviewed about my work since, I have always cited my time in Florence as being significant to the development of my practice and key to understanding some of the ideas and forms found in my work to this day.
The confidence gained through this experience enabled me to move to other unfamiliar cities to live and work thereafter, seeking to replicate and build on the experience I had in Florence. It was an induction to the culture of coffee drinking, Simone Martini’s Annunciation and the potential that exploring a city on foot has to offer. To say that Florence and the John Kinross Scholarship has had a lasting impact on myself and my work would be an understatement.