Gemma Balfour (24) from Shetland will graduate on 12 July from Gray’s School of Art at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen with a BA (Hons) in Printmaking.
Gemma, a pupil at Brae High School, studied at Shetland College before deciding to leave the island to develop her art career by studying at Gray’s School of Art. Her original plan was to study painting but she soon discovered printmaking as an exciting and fresh perspective on her work that provided variations that she previously hadn’t considered.
Gemma’s work has been heavily influenced by the cliffs of her native Shetland and also the typewriters that she’s come to use in her work. She has seven typewriters in total, all of which she sourced in second hand shops on Shetland and restored to working order.
Gemma uses the typewriters to create images out of letters and words by forming patterns and rhythms on the paper. She said, “I have become accustomed to using manual vintage typewriters as a tool within my studio practice. The typewriter is a way to process my thoughts allowing me the freedom to loose myself in a stream of consciousness. I have been drawn to studying the erosion of cliff faces around the coast line of Shetland. The land has worn away over time leaving the cliffs scared with craters and fractures. This scarification can translate within my work through the imprints made by the typewriter, thus creating my own visual language.”
The result is a collection of stunning and thought provoking images which Gemma is currently exhibiting at her final year degree show at Gray’s School of Art in Aberdeen which runs till Saturday 22 June.
After graduation Gemma plans to return to Shetland to continue her art of the island.