Caroline Hendry - BA (Hons) Fine Art

With family connections to Robert Gordon University's (RGU) campus and having always known she wanted to be an artist, Caroline Hendry, is graduating with a First Class Honours and is looking forward to a career in the Fine Art world.

Caroline (22) from Inverness had known from an early age that she wanted to go to art school. Upon leaving Inverness Royal Academy, Caroline wanted to expand her knowledge of painting, and to develop her skills and understanding of the art world. She's now graduating from Gray’s School of Art with a First Class Honours degree in Painting.

Many of Caroline’s family had previously lived in Garthdee and her great grandmother had even been a cleaner at Gray's, so it felt a natural choice to study here. “I was drawn to the focus on drawing and painting at Gray’s and the size of the school itself which was nice and intimate. I also liked that you had a physical interview when applying. This made me feel like Gray's truly valued seeing your work.”

Caroline says her experience at Gray’s School of Art and RGU has been very positive. “There’s been consistent support from the tutors throughout my time here, even throughout the pandemic. Looking back, there's a focus on detail and finish that I've found very valuable. I don’t believe I would have learned to the extent that I have, had I not studied at Gray’s School of Art. I am also very happy to get a first!

“Gray’s offered consistent tutoring and critiques of my Painting which meant I always had to find new ways to look at my work and develop my practice. One of the highlights of my four years at Gray’s was a trip to Edinburgh to see the Paula Rego exhibition in second year. Spending a day at the galleries with my course mates was really heart-warming and I will always remember it fondly.”

For her final degree project, Caroline draws on her sense of nostalgia for her childhood internet experience, creating a thought-provoking collection that explores digital communities. Her exploratory collection of work examines virtual relationships created online through forums and websites, something that many people experienced during lockdown.

“As a child I formed many relationships online through shared interests on forums and websites. We created digital communities which has given me a strong sense of nostalgia for my childhood internet experience and my work centres around this personal relationship.”

“I believe that creating a new understanding of nostalgia is just as valuable as "traditional" nostalgia and hope to convey this through my display of virtual and physical objects. I believe that creating this work can help breach the gap of generational understanding of what nostalgia can be, and what it can become."

Like many other students, Caroline has shown great resilience to her studies and achieve her degree during the pandemic. Having made it back to campus, Caroline says she realised how much she’d missed.

“I’d forgotten how communal Gray’s is. There really is no substitute for being back on campus, especially in a run up to the Degree Show, there was such a buzz. Now that I’m graduating, I’m really going to miss being in such a productive studio with my course mates.”

Looking ahead, Caroline has a mixture of career plans in the pipeline. She wants to continue her practice and find a studio. She also plans to sell artwork at comic conventions and run art classes.

“Gray’s has equipped me as much as it could do for the Fine Art world. I enjoyed Gray’s Creative Future’s ‘Life After Art School’ programme which has given me an understanding of the creative industries and the opportunities available. Guest at Gray's series also introduced me brought the challenges of working in the creative industry to life and it is fantastic that Gray’s offered so many opportunities.”

“The Degree Show has been a great launchpad for my career as I move on from Gray’s. It gave me the opportunity to showcase my work and has helped me reach out to people in the art’s world.”

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