Scotland’s Best Graduate & Emerging Artists

Since 2012 our annual Best of Scottish Art School Graduates Show has been at the very core of what artpistol stands for. This renowned highlight in our annual schedule, and the partnerships we’ve made with many graduates now years into their careers, has established us as the leading gallery in Scotland for supporting the next generation in contemporary art. We’re immensely proud of that, having come out of the Scottish art school system in the early 2000s, and the gallery will continue to support and champion the most deserving early career artists with all our might. “Mighty Fine Art” as we say.

We explore the Scottish Art School Degree Shows looking at hundreds of promising young artists every year. We’re searching for raw talent and serious ambition, all sitting behind an aesthetic that stops you in your tracks. Every year is fascinating, and every year delivers.

But this is about more than one show. We’re looking for artists who want, or need, their lives to be consumed by their art. Those who want to progress and make it a part of their livelihood. Daunting? Maybe. Exciting? Overwhelmingly so!

3 Artists

We’d like to share 3 artists we’re extremely proud to work with (amongst the many) who personify everything we have said here, and can now call friends.

Since graduation, they have all been involved in various shows at artpistol, including numerous solo shows. We have sold their work into private and commercial collections, and many homes! They have all been involved in public art commissions with artpistol Projects. And they have all been a joy to work with and represent since day one.

Lily Macrae

Glasgow based contemporary artist Lily Macrae’s work explores the compositional chaos and power struggles portrayed in the work of old masters such as Peter Paul Rubens. Here in her interest lies in their ability to deliver a timeless portrayal of humanity. Macrae reinterprets the iconic scenes to learn from the human architecture, playing with the traditional intentions of this imagery.

Macrae is currently working from a studio based in Govan on the banks of the Clyde; an area steeped in Glasgow’s rich history of the ship building industry. She graduated from Edinburgh College of Art in 2016, where her Degree Show was a sell out. This was followed up with another sell out show here at artpistol Gallery in 2018. In 2019 she was awarded the Hope Scott Trust fund and The Great Britain Sasakawa Emerging Artist Grant. The latter award enabled her to complete a month-long residency with 3331 Arts Chiyoda in Tokyo, Japan. She has exhibited across Scotland, England and Tokyo thanks to her residency. Her works are held in both private and public collections.

James Frew

James Frew is a professionally exhibiting artist and academic whose work explores the formal dynamics of a traditional painterly discourse re-appropriated in a Post-Internet, Post-Analogue painting context. As a Doctoral Research Student at Glasgow School of Art, his research explores the possibilities for new modalities of practice and means of production for painting, arising from the investigation of technological processes. His work aims to make an original contribution to knowledge through analysing the surface gestures and morphologies of painting as they develop in relation to the analogue and digital, considering the Expanded Field of painting as a contextual basis. His research incorporates the translation of material processes carried out in the studio into technological production, ultimately involving technological integration with painting which reflects rapidly developing Post-Analogue art practices.

Frew graduated from GSA in 2015 with a BA(Hons) in Fine Art. He completed his Masters at GSA and graduated with Distinction. He was awarded the esteemed Chairman Medal by the school. In 2017 he was recipient of the prestigious John Mather Rising Star Scholarship for his work into Expanded Field painting.

Grant McGregor

Grant McGregor is a portrait painter. He draws the identity of his sitters out in a blunt and raw manner. Faces appear from the darkness with a sombre, Rembrandt-esque quality that is highly effective. Charcoals, oils and acrylics all feature in his practice where he moulds a reality. Giving hope to the hopeless. Bringing the dark to light. Revealing a truth to those who are worthy.

McGregor graduated from DJCAD in 2015 with a BA (Hons) in Fine Art (Drawing & Painting). He talks enthusiastically of his current influence’s; Peter Howson and Johannes Vemeer. With the latter pushing him to consider a new addition of elements and objects around his figures.