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As a fountain of endless inspiration, Edinburgh has long been a hotbed of genius when it comes to artists and creatives. From the emerging to the ultra-famous, here are the Edinburgh artists worth knowing a thing or two about.
Edinburgh-based artist Alice Boyle creates art infused with emotion through an animated array of realms. Her chosen medium of acrylic and plaster onto hardboard results in evocative, playful pieces with inviting layers. The contrasting textures and vivacious colours run wild. Always a self-confessed creative, Alice graduated from Edinburgh College of Art with a masters in Interior Architecture before shifting course to pursue her true passion as a maker and creator of art. Her debut solo exhibition ‘We’re Are All Imperfect Circles’ inspired partly by Carl Jung’s collective unconscious was well-received. Her upcoming exhibition ‘Think Less, Feel More’ is more compelling than ever. The seed was sparked from a Sunday Times review on the Royal Academy’s 2016 exhibition on Abstract Expressionism and has led Alice to master that perfect balance of letting her art dance to its own beat.
Born in the coastal town of Methil about an hour’s drive from Edinburgh, Jack Vettriano is one of today’s most successful Scottish painters. As a self-taught artist, he started painting after a girlfriend gifted him watercolours for his 21st birthday in the 1970s. Vettriano drew inspiration from works in the Kirkaldy Museum and Art Gallery and began painting copies of impressionist paintings like Monet’s Poppy Fields. Today, his Singing Butler is one of the best-selling images in the UK and sold for £744,500, with his yearly print earnings totaling approximately £500,000 in royalties alone. Amidst his fame, Vetrriano has been subject to endless criticism from those in the art know, with his work being considered misogynistic and devoid of skill. Despite this, it sells!
The epitome of trippy and at times shocking to the core, Rachel Maclean’s art is so grotesque that it challenges the viewer to react. Born in Edinburgh, Maclean is yet another talent to emerge from the ECA with a BA Honours in Drawing and Painting. She now resides and works in Glasgow. This multi-media artist was picked to represent Scotland in Venice for the 57th International Art Exhibition — La Biennale di Venezia. Inspired by the tumultuous nature of recent political events, specifically the Trump presidential election, Maclean conjured up yet another masterpiece in the form of Spite Your Face, a deeply dark narrative and critique of contemporary society based on the age-old Italian tale of Pinocchio. Like Maclean’s other work, she plays each character, ornate costumes, hypnotic effects and intricate makeup and all.
Alexander ‘Sandy’ Stoddart counts iconic works like Edinburgh’s David Hume and Adam Smith statues to his name. A master of his craft in the purest sense, sculptor Stoddart bears the title of the Queen’s Sculptor in Ordinary in Scotland. He is praised for his numerous civic monuments and renowned for his devotion to Scotland: ‘My great ambition is to do sculpture for Scotland’. Although born in Edinburgh, Stoddart grew up in Renfrewshire before studying fine art at the Glasgow School of Art. His neoclassical style and prowess in immortalizing historical figures through sculpture is all part of the charm.
Kirsty Whiten presents a world where societal stressors and culturally constructed behavior are juxtaposed with an untainted view where fluidity reigns free and raw emotions are celebrated. From the exploration of gender and sexuality exhibited in the imagined ritual practices of the Now Peoples and their gender-queer leader The Quing in Wronger Rites, to her liberating portrayal of emotions freed from the power of the gaze, both social and male-related, in her recent work Housewives, Whiten’s infatuation with ritual creates a vehicle to fund new life narratives. After graduating from the ECA and spending time at La Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris, Whiten returned to Edinburgh before retreating to a countryside eco house with studios.