During the Degree Show in summer 2016 I found out my work had been selected by the Federation of British Artists to be exhibited as part of the Futures exhibit at the Mall Galleries in London. An annual exhibition that showcases the best in new contemporary figurative painting,
drawing, sculpture and printmaking by art graduates, I was ecstatic.
With Steady Hands and The Surgeon’s Eye having been purchased by the Edinburgh Art Collection and a private collector respectively, I submitted Surgical Still Life for the exhibition.
The table a jumble of surgical equipment; towels, bowls, jugs, clips, tongs, scalpels, extra handles for the overhead lights and all manner of things I had tried to learn the names of and failed! The painting itself consisted of over 100 objects, made of multiple types of materials, all of which took huge amounts of practice and observation to capture. It was something so modern, so alien, painted as a still life, something so classically “art”. As Surgical Still Life was the biggest and most technically challenging painting I had done to date,
it made sense to exhibit it, as a representation of my journey as an artist.
The exhibition was an experience. It was the first jump into the art world beyond university. The excitement of travelling to London with my work and attending the evenings was fabulous!
But a few weeks after the exhibition had ended, while I wondered where I was going next with my work, I received an e-mail telling me I had won the Jackson’s ‘One to Watch’ people’s prize!!
YES! YES! YES!
I couldn’t believe it. It was, and still is, one of the best things that’s happened to me. To get that positive reinforcement from the public was incredible and just such a huge confidence booster. I still fall on it today when I lose faith in my work. I was fortunate to then go on and do interviews with both the Mall Galleries, Jackson’s Art, and Artists and Illustrators Magazine, where I had the chance to discuss my work further.
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