Artist Profile on DJCAD Masters of Fine Art Graduate
This month's Artist Profile is with Ginny Elston, who's studying for her Masters in Fine Art and Humanities at DJCAD and works part-time at iartsupplies - say hello next time you're in! Originally from Edinburgh, she studied History of Art and French at the University of Manchester, and then studied Fine Art at the Leith School of Art in Edinburgh for 3 years. Ginny tells us a little more about her practice and thoughts on art in the following interview...
What was the first work of art you remember seeing?
My family moved to Spain for 3 years when I was a child, and so I was fortunate enough to go to the Prado Museum, which then was home to Picasso’s Guernica. I must have been about 6 years old, and I can just remember standing aghast in front of it. It was the horse which seemed to particularly horrify me, with what looked like a bullet or bomb in its mouth. I just remember being so confused and feeling dreadfully scared by it.
What kind of art do you produce and how/ when did you start to get involved with this?
I feel I produce many different types of art. My tastes and interests frequently change and I feel this is reflected in my changing methods of working. I took art as a subject all the way through school and loved it. It was always the most complex, surprising and interesting of subjects… with the most peculiar teachers.
I work in different media depending on what I’m doing. I’d describe myself predominantly as a draughtswoman, a painter and a printmaker.
Is there any kind of medium/ art techniques that you would like to explore in your future work?
I’ve started exploding out from the confines of my paintings into the surrounding space, by painting on the walls and introducing objects into the surrounding space. So I guess I’ve taken a few steps into the realm of sculpture and installation, which I’m finding new and exciting at the moment. I always love trying out new printing methods – I’ve never done lithography and I’d love to have a go at that.
What subject matters are you normally drawn towards?
Since my tastes are often in a state of flux, I find myself drawn to many different things at once. I’m very interested in history, language and sites of particular human interest, as well as both Eastern and Western philosophies and scientific associations with art. I’ve made previous works about the planets and our solar system, about the Nuremberg Trials that happened in Germany after the Second World War and about arcade and gaming spaces… so quite an eclectic bunch of topics!
If affiliated to Gallery/ art collective/ art club, how did you get involved with this?
I’m not associated with a Gallery or art collective.
If from traditional art background (i.e. higher education in art) how do you think the institutions you were associated with have formed/ informed your practice?
I think the institutions one studies in are always formative to your practice, whether they end up affirming your current beliefs on art or whether you end up rebelling against the institutional grain. Being in an intensive, educational environment which pushes you and challenges you enables you to critically question and reflect upon your own work and that of your peers, which is mostly always a good thing. However this can sometimes overwhelm you and often undermine your confidence in your own work, and you need to be aware of when you increasingly rely on the advice of those in the position of ‘teacher/ tutor’ to know what steps to take next. Everything in moderation.
Who are your inspirations in the art world?
There are many, many, many inspirational people in the art world. They range from past and current tutors, peers, and both celebrated and non-celebrated artists, living and dead. Specifically at the moment I find the sculptural works of Jessica Stockholder, Judy Pfaff and Katherina Grosse very inspiring, and the paintings of Tomory Dodge, David Schnell and Tonye Moe very exciting. Artists like Marina Abramovich and Ai Wei Wei are also incredibly inspirational, calling for an awakening of the collective consciousness.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I’m currently finding a whole world of visual inspiration from just the colours and shapes in my immediate environment. Buildings, windows, the colour of the sky and trees in different lights, hi-vis jackets, bright window displays…
I’m lucky to be working in a very bright and spacious studio that will eventually turn into my Masters exhibition space.
What advice would you give to people who want to get involved in art?
Art can bring up a surprising array of emotions. It's a deep, mystical and sometimes murky journey to travel through... But it’s also clearly the best way to spend your time here on planet Earth.
What do you think is the importance of art in society?
At its best, art is of the utmost importance to society, it’s life-changing, eternally profound. Imagination is a most basic necessity which we need in order to survive.