Rona Innes

ABOUT ME

Artist based in Leith Walk Studios who works in a range of materials including charcoal, pastel and acrylic paint. I have a passion for wild, untamed creatures and places and am especially fond on corvids. Symbols and geology, especially volcanoes, are also a source of inspiration.

MY STORY

Growing up in North East Scotland introduced me to flora and fauna while camping and hill climbing in the Cairngorms. The extreme weather, mountains and wilderness have had a lasting impact on my work.

My dad was an orthodontic technician and I loved going to his dental lab which was full of wonky teeth, plaster casts, polystyrene heads with inset plastic teeth and all sorts of interesting equipment. After seeing all the specialist lab equipment for casting, modelling and designing I knew I would never be happy sitting at a desk in an office job!

My mum worked in the Geology Department of the University and I loved going there too as the building was full of gigantic 50’s style molecular models, crystals under ultraviolet light and posters from around the world. The department was attached to a small but incredibly well stocked museum featuring pickled bound feet and other abnormalities in jars, Egyptian mummies, skeletons, primitive artefacts and other curios.

My nature loving family were forever collecting and examining specimens such as feathers, bones, shells, discarded snake skin or bird skulls and my studio is also full of of feathers, antlers, lichen, pieces of bark and interesting textures collected or photographed on walks.

PROCESS

Using drawing as a starting point, I combine multiple processes to create a style that attempts to capture the personality and individual nuances of the subject. Based on observation, memory and imagination my style is intricately detailed while retaining a playful exploration of materials.

To bring my artwork ‘to life’ I use semi-chaotic processes such as flooding the surface with liquids, blasting powder over them or wearing away parts of the drawing with air or corrosive materials. Layers are built up, excavated, destroyed and restructured.

PAST WORK

After graduating from Goldsmiths College with a BA Hons in Fine Art and gaining a Masters Degree in Computers in Design at Middlesex University I worked in Soho as a Special Effects Artist on Hollywood feature films. The techniques I used in digital film post production have proved invaluable over the years.

After this, while still living ‘down south’, I freelanced as a commercial artist and mainly worked with emerging technologies to produce interactive installations, kiosks and animations. My work appeared in national museums including The Churchill War Rooms, on digital billboards around the world and as stage projections in venues such as the Royal Albert Hall, The Southbank Centre and on the Pyramid stage at Glastonbury.

I also worked with bands including The Who, Julian Cope and Ginger Wildheart and had work in window displays and interiors of leading high street retailers including Selfridges and DicksonCyberExpress in Hong Kong.

During this period I also lectured in several universities including Glasgow School of Art and the London College of Music & Media.

CURRENT WORK

I have never stopped creating artwork but after moving to Glasgow at the end of 2009, I rekindled my love of drawing and painting with traditional media in a more serious way but lacked any real direction and missed having like-minded people to share work and ideas with.

This all changed in 2012 when I took part in an online daily drawing challenge called ‘28 Drawings Later’ set up by Glasgow artist, Victoria Evans. After a few days of drawing random things I rediscovered my passion for drawing corvids, animals and skeletons and had a ready made community of artists to share and discuss work with. The rest is history!

I still have most of my sketchbooks from throughout my life, my visual diaries documenting the good times and bad times. The theme of crows, symbols and mythology and a love of charcoal drawing goes all the way back to my teenage years so I have been spiralling around these themes all my life!

Two years after moving to Glasgow I relocated to Edinburgh and trialled a few of my illustrations and products on market stalls. I had been wanting to swap offering creative services and working with clients to creating products and working on my own ideas for a long time and finally took the leap.

To support my painting I currently produce a separate diffusion line of illustrated products such as homeware, stationary, cards and prints which I sell online and through market stalls, stockists and galleries. My next move is to cut back on the product side of things and devote more time to my painting!