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RGU art school degree show has virtual visitors flocking in

By Alan Beresford

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MORE than 5000 visitors have logged in to Gray’s School of Art’s Digital Degree Show, Onwards since it's launch on July 9.

The online show has drawn interest from across the world, with visitors from as far afield as Malaysia, Brazil, Kenya, Panama, Russia, Columbia and Serbia.

Over 150 designers and artists are showcasing their work at this year’s exhibition across a range of mediums including Painting, Contemporary Art Practice, 3D Design, Communication Design, Fashion and Textiles and Photography.

Highlights from this year’s 10-day event include interactive Q & A sessions, music events and an online exclusive fashion show which goes live this coming Sunday, July 18 at 3pm.

Head of Gray’s School of Art, Libby Curtis, said: “We really didn’t think we would be doing a second Digital Degree Show 15 months on from the first Covid lockdown, however both our staff and students, and the creative partnership we have with design agency, Design and Code, have risen to the challenge and the success of this year’s digital degree show is a testament to all their hard work.

“Our graduates have had to be adaptive and flexible; they have created home studios, developed new ways of working, re-inventing through the imposed limitations, and in doing so, have shown their determination to succeed and achieve. The sustained personal and professional resilience demonstrated by our students during this difficult time has been, and is, truly outstanding.

“Onwards, the title of our show this year, speaks to the optimism, resilience and continued professionalism that our students exhibit through their work. I am delighted with the success of this year’s event and that we are able to showcase our student’s work to a global online audience.

One of the students exhibiting, is 21-year-old Painting graduate, Scarlet Keiller from Forres, whose project, Lost in Translation, teleports her audience to a post-apocalyptic world, where Earth’s civilisation has collapsed and humans are extinct.

Scarlet says the pandemic greatly influenced her work: “Last year, when the studios closed and we had to work from home, I found it liberating and the quality of my work skyrocketed from there.

"This year, I chose to create work exclusively in a digital format as this was accessible for me to do from home. If it weren't for Covid I'm not sure I would have made this kind of work.

“The mural I painted in my studio space felt like a natural extension of the themes I was exploring – invading an otherwise pristine environment and disrupting it – but if I had been in the studio all year with no restrictions, I imagine I would have gone in a very different direction.”

Another Painting graduate at this year’s show, is Faye Woods from the West Coast. Faye had to adapt to a new way of working.

She explained: “Covid forced me to work from home in my mum’s utility room. My studio mates were quickly replaced by a freezer and tumble drier.

"I had to work on a smaller scale and adapt to no longer using copious amount of turps in my work! Despite this, the tutors have been the most supportive and caring people I’ve ever met in education and the course has constantly challenged me into striving for more in my work.”

Expanding on last year’s success, the digital degree show has been updated and further developed with new additions for the best user experience. Visitors can engage with work in a traditional 2D format through new search options, allowing them to explore students work by courses and themes with audio descriptions and visual images from all the artists.

There is also the option to go on an immersive journey and to explore the show through a series of 3D virtual spaces.

The show is free to view and can be accessed via graysdegree.show until July 19.

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