John Kinross Scholar in 2015
Samantha Wilson, Crossing boarders, Ink, charcoal & powder pigment on paper, 110 x 210cm, 2019
How did the experience affect you as an individual?
The experience was wonderful and came to me at an ideal time. I had just completed my master’s degree and it gave me a real confidence boost; both practically as an artist and as a new graduate, to leave education and be able to immediately continue to create art.
Beyond that, the experience of Florence itself was incredible. I had always dreamed of going. The opportunity to stay for six weeks, seeing ancient masters work every day was tremendously inspiring. I was taken over by the magnitude of art, technique, history, colours, textures as well as the vibrancy of the city life. It also gave me invaluable time to reflect after seven years of studying in Scotland, which really helped me evaluate the best way to move forward in my personal and professional life. During this time, I sought out new opportunities which took me to two more artist residencies; one in Barcelona and one in New Delhi India later that year. I then moved to Delhi shortly after, and ten months later I was drawn back to Europe, largely because of the experience in Florence… I missed European life and chose to move either to Florence or Lisbon Portugal (where I now live). However, Florence remains one of my most favourite places to visit and I look forward to returning to once again be inspired and enriched by the city and art.
What was the impact on your practice?
My artwork focus is figurative art and I took many sketches, photographs and postcards from Florence of countless works. I have always been inspired by the elaborate and dramatic compositions of figures which I found all over the city including my visit to Arezzo to see the frescos of Piero Della Francesca – a long held dream of mine. The astounding paintings inside the Duomo’s ceiling (I stayed for 45 minutes) staring at the ceiling taking notes of many ideas flooding to me through seeing these works. They inspired me to be continuously ambitious in my works and encouraged me to increase my figurative compositions in size and narrative, which continues today.
What would you say the long term impact has been on yourself and you work?
The opportunity made me very hopeful and ambitious for the future – which I am still as committed. Currently living between Portugal and India, I will begin a practice-led PhD back in the UK in the fall of 2020, to investigate contemporary art’s ability to heighten empathy in modern crisis situations in complex-decision making spaces – a project working in response to the 2015 refugee crisis.
The opportunity in Florence coupled with the experiences gained over the last five years have granted the time and skills to develop my personal and professional intentions in social projects and as a maker which I will always be grateful.