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 exceptional raw talent and serious ambition, all sitting behind an aesthetic that stops you in your tracks. Every year is a fascinating glimpse through a cultural lens focused on the absolute here and now of the emerging art world, 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 Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio and Eugene Delacroix. Here in her interest lies in their ability to deliver a timeless portrayal of humanity. Lily reinterprets the iconic scenes to learn from the human architecture, playing with the traditional intentions of this imagery, ultimately suspending her work somewhere in between past and present.

Lily 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. His research is concerned with the role of the painted gesture within the Post-digital, in particular its cultural and formal manifestations as a translative entity; specifically, the polymorphic capacity gesture presents amidst analogue and digital modes of production and reception.

James has a long and illustrious relationship with The Glasgow School of Art. He graduated from the school in 2015 with a BA(Hons) in Fine Art. He graduated with Distinction and was awarded the esteemed Chairman Medal by the school. He returned to complete his Master of Letters in Fine Art Practice in 2017 and was the recipient of the prestigious John Mather Rising Star Scholarship for his work into Expanded Field painting. From 2018-2021 he undertook his PhD – as a Doctoral Research Student, his research explored the possibilities for new modalities of practice and means of production for painting, arising from the investigation of technological processes. His work aimed 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 incorporated 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. And finally, most recently, James was accepted by the school to undertake a PG Cert in Learning & Teaching.

Ross Miller

Ross Miller’s body of work focuses mainly on portraits. Working intuitively, Ross expressively draws out his character, incorporating elements of realism into emotionally charged, highly rendered faces. There’s a profound sense of interiority in Ross’ work. He urges his viewers to see and seek answers that reveal themselves from within the powerful, raw, dark and vulnerable faces. Using a range of media – pencil, charcoal, inks, acrylics and oils on paper and canvas. Ross also specialises in wood-cut printing and produces more considered limited edition prints.

Ross graduated from DJCAD with a 1st Class BA(Hons) in Fine Art in 2017. He was shortlisted for the Graduate Art Prize. In 2018 he was preselected for the Columbia Threadneedle Prize and was selected for the RSA New Contemporaries.