Born in Manchester in 1975, Vanessa moved up to Scotland in 1982. In 1993 she attended a 9-month programme at Lorenzo De Medici, School of Art, Florence, Italy studying figurative drawing and painting, then continued to live, work and paint in Switzerland until January 1998 when she obtained an 18-month sponsorship to attend The New York Studio School of Drawing Painting and Sculpture. Vanessa then won scholarships from the school to complete the three-year program, including a 4-month exchange in autumn 2000 to the Ecole de Beaux Arte, Marseille, France.
After graduating from the Studio School in spring 2001, she was accepted as one of the 9 artists to take part in the Studioscape Residency Program run by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council on the 91st Floor of the North Tower of the Twin Towers. The residency was tragically ended on September 11th, which then forced Vanessa to return to Scotland where she continues to make her own artwork as well as teaching drawing and painting to adults and children.
I grew up surrounded by animals and this has continually influenced my work over the years. My prime source of inspiration was the horses, creating large scale paintings of horses eyes as well as paintings inspired by travels working with the Australian stockmen and Argentine Gauchos. While oil painting was my main medium, and one I do still use, I would always produce the occasional wire sculpture, knowing that this was the direction I would like to take my work.
My current work is still inspired by animals/wildlife but my starting point with each piece is to make a wire sculpture which then evolve into drawings and paintings exploring different ways of expressing my sculptures using various mediums. I will often cover areas of wire with plaster, and then drawing just these areas onto canvas or paper creates a completely new piece of work, something made up of more abstract shapes. I enjoy the process or redeveloping one single piece of work in many different ways, continually reinventing an original idea.
I also have a love for all things that look old, rusty and rustic, so I am always looking for new materials to create this result, as well as salvaging interesting pieces of wood and metal whenever I can to incorporate into my work. Recently I have started to use resin to set drawings and sculptures into. I am very much just learning to use this medium but am really excited by its possibilities, so intend to be using it a lot more. I have also started welding, making figurative sculptures that are made up of abstract shapes. I believe for the development of my work and myself as an artist it is important to be continually experimenting with new materials and see how they can all be put together to realise the ideas I have in my head.
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