This piece is an unusual composition: it is a highly disciplined ink sketch of the Robert Lewis Stevenson Museum in Samoa, pasted onto a larger piece of brown packing paper spattered with inkblots and pencil annotations. The smaller pencil sketch on the right consists of numerous straight lines that mirror the major architectural lines of the museum drawing. Lack of detail and colour make the artwork appear unfinished.
The piece resembles a a page from an artist’s sketchbook. The brown paper creates a negative space around the sketch of the museum, similar to a frame surrounding a finished art piece and providing a broader context such as time and location. The ink spots emphasise the chaos of the creative process, and the pencil sketch resembles a rough draft an artist can make before starting their work.
The piece was created during Gray’s travels around the Pacific, sponsored by the Alastair Salvesen Art Scholarship from the Royal Scottish Academy, which he won in 2004. Gray’s choice of destination was motivated by the desire to follow in the footsteps of Robert Louis Stevenson, who spent his last years involved in the political life of Samoa: the Stevenson Museum is close to Mount Vaea, where he was buried.
Like Stevenson Gray takes inspiration from his travels. After finishing the Salvesen scholarship, he remarked that the globalisation that started in Stevenson’s era has only had a more profound effect today. This experience inspired his interest in the damaging effects of tourism on the world, a theme that is the central focus of some of his more recent work.
Euan Gray was born in Edinburgh. As a postgraduate student, he won the Alastair Salvesen Art Scholarship from the Royal Scottish Academy in 2004, which allowed him to present his first solo exhibition. He currently works as a curator in the Edinburgh City Art Centre: his recent exhibitions include "A Parliament of Lines", an event showcasing the work involving elements of drawing by Scottish artists. As a council member of the Alumni Association of the Edinburgh College of Art, he also curated "The Secret Confession", an exhibitions of the artwork of sixteen prominent alumni of the Edinburgh College of Art.
With thanks to Edinburgh City Council, Leither Magazine and The Royal Scottish Academey for information about this artist.