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Interview With Suzann Ross

How long have you been a part of the Northern Arts Club and what made you eager to join?

I became a member and studio practitioner in August 2017. I had graduated with a BA (hons) in Fine Art Painting from Gray's School of Art in June and had been lucky enough to be a RSA prize winner. Established local artist Joe Fan RSA, put me in touch with the Club and from this introduction I secured a studio, which provided me a space to generate a new work for the 2018 RSA-NC exhibition in Edinburgh.

How has the pandemic affected the routine of the club, as well as you?

Effectively the Club's premises are closed to all members. The Club's decision to waiver rental fees for lease holders from lockdown has reduced the financial burden on those working across the local creative industries. Many are self-employed or sole traders, whose income has been impacted significantly by the pandemic. To compensate for the loss of rental income the Club has received vital financial support from Aberdeen Council grant scheme. This has been an invaluable lifeline during the pandemic.

"ARCHIVE" - By Suzann Ross
"ARCHIVE" - mixed media on canvas - W52 x H76 x D2cm - Started prior to lockdown and completed at home

Have you found that you have had more time to focus on producing artwork during lockdown?

I have been kept very busy. I was fortunate to be chosen for the Look Again Creative Entrepreneurship course. This course provides business development for creatives in Scotland and is supported by Look Again and the Entrepreneurship & Innovation Group through Robert Gordon University. As a result, my focus has not been limited to my own practice, but learning how to develop the Club to ensure its future for generations to come.

Have you been producing and sharing work with group members on a regular basis? If so, how have you done this?

I have shared past, present and current work recently on social media and have been in communication via Zoom to discuss how the Club can move forward as the lockdown is slowly eased.

What have you taken inspiration from when producing your pieces?

I have been experimenting with colour, scale and texture, combining text and image to create a visual story. Looking at material culture and the life cycle.

Lockdown artworks by Suzann Ross
Series of preparatory studies undertaken at home

Do you focus on themes/using certain materials when producing your artwork? If so, what?

I work within the themes of cataloguing and archiving. How information is understood and presented is central. I work specifically with collage, exploring the relationship between text, image and colour.

Has creating your artwork acted as a coping mechanism during the pandemic?

It has been difficult to prioritise making work in the family home especially attempting to home school. I have needed to adapt and experiment with new materials and work digitally. It has been interesting and my practice will benefit in the future.

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