Can you tell us about yourself and your creative background?
I’m incurably curious and have travelled extensively exploring the world, diving with sharks, working on vineyards and being a cowgirl among other things.
Originally from Glasgow, I am a painter and illustrator and my preferred mediums are acrylics and ink, although I am keen to try oils.
A large part of my creative life is spent working in the museums sector. Last year I left my role at National Museums Scotland in Edinburgh to take up my current post in the Metalwork Section of the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.
As an artist I find working in museums, both challenging and inspirational. History is fascinating, if you’re looking to the future you have to understand the past and museums offer so many opportunities for me to learn and to use my creative ability.
Can you give us a wee insight in to Redbird and the evolution from Deadbird?
I was head of the Fine Art section of Deadbird, which was an online site dedicated to reviewing the work of emerging artists. It was volunteer run and a great project to be a part of.
Deadbird went offline in the middle of 2014 but artists continued to contact me, wanting to talk about their work. And I wanted to hear about it, I wanted to find out what they were making! I felt the need for some kind of digital studio space to present them and their work in. This was the driving force which compelled me to start building Redbird.
Redbird has these principles at its core:
1. Supportive not Exploitative
There are a lot of sites out there which claim to be supportive of artists, but are actually exploitative, driven by profit and advertising. I think that’s wrong, so, it is free to feature your work on Redbird. We are decidedly: not for profit.
2. Talent is What Counts
I’ve met with some wonderfully talented people, who were classed as ‘emerging’ artists, yet some of them had been creating work for up to 50 years. I would get asked, how long does it take to emerge?! I think that’s a fair point! So, Redbird is interested in artists at all stages of their careers not just those who could be called emerging.
3. Artists and Creatives
I wanted to produce a platform for artists and creative people, which genuinely was passionate about art and new ideas. Creative work can be found in many different industries, everything from music to robotics, so Redbird is open to new ideas, not just traditional art forms.
4. Meet the Makers
Online galleries are great for showcasing artwork but not so good at showcasing the people who make the art. Why? People who make things are interesting, so if we feature your work on Redbird we genuinely want to hear what you think about the world.
5. Art is What We Do
Writers for Redbird are artists themselves and so it’s an opportunity to talk about your work with your peers, as opposed to an art critic or reviewer. It’s also about participating in the creative community. Creating can be an intensive, isolating experience and sometimes that’s what’s needed, other times, it helps to know that other artists are obsessing about things in intensive isolation too!
And what does your role with Redbird involve?
I manage the site. My role involves a lot of speaking to artists, researching interesting things to feature and writing content. It’s important to physically go and see new exhibitions too, so I try to do that as often as possible. I have to counterbalance all this with creating my own art work, which is the biggest challenge.
What makes Edinburgh a good city to be involved with?
Scotland has a lot to offer in general, with Dundee being famous for its comic books and Glasgow’s reputation for design, fashion and textiles but Edinburgh’s the home of the enlightenment! As well as a traditional establishment art scene there are some really interesting independent galleries, festivals and opportunities for creative people. For example; the programme of events and exhibitions at Summerhall, the Hidden Door Art Festival and the work of Edinburgh Palette.
What advice would you give to people thinking of pursuing a career in the creative industries?
Be brave, be resilient, be polite, and state your influences.