Gabrielle Reith

Emmajane Kingaby
Aberdeenshire artist and illustrator Gabrielle Reith, takes us back to her Gray’s Degree Show in her Q&A blog.

When was your degree show and what did you exhibit? 

My degree show was in 1998 (yikes!) and I graduated with an honour’s degree in Drawing and Painting.

I made large, colourful and collaged abstract landscapes and the main body of work was made between Christmas and the show’s opening night. I remember struggling with the direction of my work but thankfully my tutor, Joyce Cairns, pointed me in the direction of my sketchbooks to gather inspiration.

How were you feeling on approach to your degree show?

The run up to the degree show was both nerve wracking and exciting, with thoughts of what ‘happens next?’ and ‘who will visit my show?’. The degree show week was overwhelmingly positive for me and those concerns of mine soon washed away.

I sold all my work during the show which I was not expecting to do. Some of my pieces went to a new hotel which was opening in Edinburgh at the time and the remainder went to the Art in Healthcare collection and private collectors.

During the show, I made new gallery contacts which then turned into shows of my work in galleries across Scotland and beyond.

How has your artistic process evolved since graduating?

I carried on painting after I graduated (although I somewhat scaled down due to lack of studio space) and I had many successful shows in Scotland and the rest of the UK.

In 2005, I moved to London and attended the London Print Studio to learn to screen print which transformed my way of working. I slowly moved away from large scale canvases and large brush strokes to a more design-based practice and since 2010 I’ve been working as an artist and illustrator under the name of 'Small Stories’. I make a range of illustrated goods, mostly inspired by Scotland, which I sell wholesale and at fairs and events.

My work continues to evolve and the fine art side of my practice always mixes with design elements.

Where can we find your work?

Taking you back to 2009, I started 'Oor Monsters' with my husband and fellow creative, Philip Thompson. Together we have lots of fun, we've curated shows and won commissions together. A highlight was The Look Again Festival in 2019 when we dressed up us giant eyes and handed out our 'Oor News' newspaper to the citizens of Aberdeen.

Material with various items and phrases printed
Artwork by Gabrielle Reith
Artwork by Gabrielle Reith
Oor Monsters Art Project by Gabrielle Reith

Our most recent commission was for Aberdeen Music Hall where we’ve installed a collection of pieces representing eight climate change issues and potential solutions. It’s called ‘Oor Future’ and every piece is interactive, colourful and fun.

The collection is made from reclaimed materials of course and is on display until September for everyone to interact and play with.

Find out more:

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