Ones to watch at this year’s Art School degree shows
Look out for these names at DJCAD, ECA and GSA events
Charlie Cook, Glasgow School of Art
It’s that time of year again when Scotland’s art schools unveil a kaleidoscope of new talent in their annual Degree Shows. Colleges throw open their doors to the public to show off the work of hundreds of students in a broad range of disciplines, from painting and sculpture to fashion, film-making and product design. We spoke to some of this year’s new faces:
Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design
Jamie Watt, Fine Art
Jamie’s work includes a reconstruction of a medieval Scottish guillotine and a jumbo-sized branding iron. He was inspired by the story of Thomas Aitkenhead, an Edinburgh student was the last person to be executed for blasphemy in Britain, in a city on the cusp of the Enlightenment. He says: 'My degree show work explores the paradox of activities that simultaneously bring people together whilst dividing them, such as religion, football and alcohol.'
Lily Chasioti, Fine Art
A QR code laid out in pebbles in Dundee’s Botanic Gardens forms the focus of Lily’s work, The Garden of Evolution. Visitors who scan the code with their smartphones will find sounds and voice messages to accompany them in their walk. She says: 'This natural environment functions as the tabula rasa in order to discuss the role of technology in the evolution of man.'
Kenneth Meek, Graphic Design
Kenneth has a Designers & Art Directors Award for his project, a browser extension which gives online shoppers a chance to see where high street fashion garments were made and by whom. He says: 'It provokes users to voice their concerns, research their favourite brands and view Amnesty-approved alternatives.'
Edinburgh College of Art
Lucy Wayman, Sculpture
A room-sized installation made from mop heads knotted together and a wall-work made from interwoven pairs of tights form part of Lucy’s degree show work. She says: 'It’s really important for me to have the hand-made element in the work, it gives the piece more stature because of the overwhelming amount of work'
James Boyle, Sculpture
Giant suction darts stick to the outside walls of the art school buildings, they look like toys but their scale lends them a sinister air. James says: 'I make a lot of work inspired by our society’s obsession with violence. It’s hypocritical, in a way, we give our children toy guns and tell them they can attack their best friends, but we’re totally against war.'
Eileen Xie, MFA, Jewellery & Silversmithing
Eileen’s work is informed by her background as an immigrant from China growing up in Australia. 'My pieces draw on the feeling of rootlessness, not being sure where my home is. I took a lot of inspiration from the shoreline, particular the rescue equipment there. I am also inspired by the more political issue of the refugee crisis, people’s determination to go out and search for a home.'
Glasgow School of Art
Mariam Syed, Textile design
Using her Muslim background, Mariam has designed a series of brightly coloured prayer rugs and head coverings. 'When my son turned seven, I wanted to present him with his own prayer rug to cherish. I decided to design a prayer rug that was both exciting and encouraging for a young child. I went on to complement this with co-ordinated silk scarves that could be used by young girls to cover their heads while praying, and fabric covers for the Quran.'
Charlie Cook, Sculpture and Environmental Art
Childhood play is an inspiration for Charlie’s sculptures, which include a ramp with 98 rocket balloons attached to it by wooden pegs and a car tyre suspended at the summit. He says: 'A younger me used to shake trees and see how many leaves I could shake off - now I’m making ramps and seeing how many balloons I can make lift off.'
Georgina Clapham, Painting and Print-making
Using her considerable skills as a painter, Georgina investigates and subverts Renaissances ideals of beauty. She said: 'My painting "Ideal portrait of a man" is of a friend of mine who is a transgender woman. It is based on the idea of dismantling the portraits of Renaissance Florence, which created a distinctive stereotype of female beauty.'
Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, Sat 21–Sun 29 May; Edinburgh College of Art, Sat 28 May–Sun 5 Jun; Glasgow School of Art, Sat 18–Sat 25 Jun.