Founded in 2018, ArtSquat supports artists on low income to develop and exhibit their work in a range of local venues. ‘Scotland: Art from the City’ is the second exhibition and will feature the work of Leamne Arias Deniz and Rachel Stewart, young artists supported through The Prince’s Trust Enterprise Programme. Helen met Rachel and Leamne at a Prince’s Trust networking event where she invited them both to join the project. The exhibition opens on Friday 19th of October and runs each weekend throughout October.
Rachel Stewart was supported by The Trust through the Explore Enterprise programme to launch her unique business idea of becoming a personal historian, preserving family stories through the medium of illustration. Since participating, she has seen huge successes in her narrative illustration business and is now collaborating with a growing group of individuals, families and communities keen to preserve their stories. Rachel also now trades on Etsy under the name ‘Woolly Gran’, working alongside her grandmother to create knitted, felted and crotched pieces.
Rachel will be presenting a broad range of her art in the exhibit, from textiles to painting and digital line drawings. Speaking about the event she admits:
I’ll be nervous closer to the time. This is the first exhibition like this that I’ve ever been a part of. But I’ll try to remember what Rachel told me before the business launch group: ‘if you’ve got to this stage, you deserve to be here’. It’s an amazing opportunity and very flattering to be involved.
Leamne Aria Deniz, originally from Havana visited Edinburgh whilst studying in the UK and fell in love with the city, featuring it prominently in her art work. Upon deciding she wanted to open an art gallery, she attended an Explore Enterprise course:
It was really helpful for me, my mentor was helpful and it was fantastic to have that initial support to create a business plan. Though my business has definitely evolved since I opened!
`Leamne’s business now exists as an art shop where she sells both her own art as well as the works of other local artists and various other products including candles, ceramics and Fairtrade goods.
Uniquely, Leamne makes her own watercolours for use in her work:
‘I enjoy the process of mixing the pigments, exploring and discovering the limits of colour. Sometimes it’s more fun than creating the art! I’ll have watercolours in the exhibit, as well as composite pieces that contain collage, embroidery and acrylic. Examples of everything I do.’
I’m very excited because this is my first exhibition in Scotland. An ambition of mine would be to participate in more exhibitions, not just in Edinburgh but all around the UK.
Founder of ArtSquat Helen Brown said:
I’m passionate about supporting young people to have the confidence to know they can succeed and believe art should be accessible to all. I’m hopeful that this exhibition will bring Rachel and Leamne’s work to a new and wider audience.
For more details check out www.artsquat.org.uk