Second Making Progress makers’ films visit: Nick Ross in Aberdeen

3 Apr 2011 in Crafts Blog, Visual Arts & Crafts

Last Friday I made my way to Aberdeen to meet with Nick Ross and chat about his maker’s video. He’s currently the artist in residence and a tutor in Gray’s School of Art and, having only graduated in 2008, I was impressed before I had even arrived at how he had become so established in such a relatively short time.

I’d had a good look through Nick’s website and read his blog entries so was really interested to hear about his practise. From my time in art school,  I have always been very aware of a very distinct, although very often completely unnecessary, divide between fine art and design and what intrigued me most about Nick’s practise was how he seems to straddle this perceived divide through working with a very design based problem solving ethos but, in doing so, producing work for a gallery environment.

I’d come to realise, through the organising of this meeting, that Nick leads a fairly nomadic lifestyle (living and working between Aberdeen, Inverness and Glasgow) and not long into our discussion in the art school cafeteria he seemed keen that this be reflected in the video somehow. He talked of how this nomadism is integral to his working process, how it often compartmentalises his life into very clear practical activity (Aberdeen) and research based activity (Glasgow and Inverness) and, alongside this, has instiled in him an empirical awareness of how small this country actually is in terms of traveling between jobs and sourcing materials. Nick had also done a lot of research on the subject of makers films so I was almost immediately given a list of recommended viewings for when I returned home so that I could gain an insight into the format and type of aesthetic we will strive for in working together.

After a good chat about what we both hoped to reflect through his video, Nick took me for a tour around the product design workshop and for a visit to his own personal studio annex.

The fact that this studio had been a disused men’s toilet adjoining the product design workshop prior to Nick’s claiming it for his own personal use was, strangely, not a complete surprise. As I mentioned before, Nick quite clearly works with a very pragmatic solution based design ethos and, as such, seeing ongoing works and evidence of his trials and experiments arranged within a former men’s bathroom made perfect sense. And I’m still quite enjoying the idea of his work beginning it’s life in one type of white cube and ending up in entirely another…

Once we were done for the day I left Nick to his making and tutoring devices and made my way back to the city centre with the cogs in my head turning nicely. As with Patty, I’m very excited about this video and now, even more so, my role overall in the Making Progress project. Already I am aware of how different the artists involved are and consequently how different the processes and outcomes will be for each and, as such, I feel the whole learning experience will be pretty well rounded. And on a more selfish (nosy) note, I wish I could be there to see his work develop into finished pieces. It sounds like it’ll be a fun process.