Pin-Up and Sit Down
© Alex Weir

Student Spotlight: Alex Weir, ACS/Edinburgh Studio Prize 2017
September 27, 2017
The next student to be featured in our Student Spotlight series is Alex Weir, recipient of one of two prizes awarded by ACS at Edinburgh College of Art this year.

Alex has received a £3,500 prize to help secure a studio space for the next twelve months, along with a stipend to support his practice through the purchase of materials.

Find out more about Alex's bright artwork and his approach to creating.


Q. How would you define your work in three words?


Colourful, playful, accessible.


Q. What does winning the ACS/Edinburgh Studio Prize mean for you as an artist?


Winning the ACS Studio Prize is great, I would never have imagined having a studio so soon after graduating. It’s just great to have a large space I can work in, around other artists and the opportunity to use facilities I could never get access to or afford. It definitely beats painting in my bedroom, which is what I would be doing if I hadn’t received this award!


Q. What medium do you mainly work with and why?


I usually create paintings although I have dabbled with other mediums like sculpture, collage, digital art and installation. When I’m making a painting I’ll usually use acrylic as its fast drying and allows me to build layers quickly, and I quite often include other materials – kid’s readymix paint, spray paint, stationery, found objects – anything really, it just depends on what I have around me and what works for that particular painting.


Q. Where do you find most inspiration for your work?


Most of my work is inspired by either the history of art or everyday themes and situations, and often a combination of the two. My work essentially questions what art is, whilst being as accessible as possible. But inspiration can come from anything, no matter how mundane or silly.


For example, today I was walking down a street in Edinburgh and the wind blew several towers of ice cream cones out of an open shop window, and sent them crashing onto the pavement in pieces – I came home and did a drawing based on that. I guess some of my more serious inspiration comes from thinking about art history, referencing other artists or considering how something could be done in a slightly different non-conventional way.



Q. Take us through your working process.


I don’t really have a set working process, it varies quite a bit. One thing I constantly do, which I suppose sparks the process of creating work, is collecting things. I’m a hoarder and like to gather anything that ‘could be used for art’. I’ll get most of these things from charity shops and pound shops, or just find them on the street – most of my paintings are created on the surface of a scrap piece of wood or an old tacky painting I bought for a fiver. Most of these things just sit in my studio for weeks or months on end until I suddenly find a use for it.


As I said I am often inspired by the combination of art history and everyday life, so then I tend to think of a rough idea of a painting based on something I’ve seen or heard – I never force myself to do this, the ideas usually just pop into my head when I’m working on another painting, at my part-time job or walking down the street, and I’ll scribble it down. After that everything is fairly intuitive and the final work always looks
different to how I first pictured it.


In the studio I work on several paintings at once, sometimes up to ten at a time, so some are influenced by what I do on others and some simply change because I’ll add that little bit extra or use one colour instead of another. I like working that way as I can be that little bit freer – it doesn’t put so much pressure on one painting and they usually turn out more genuine.


Pin-Ups (Miss Piggy and Kermit) © Alex Weir


Q. Can you remember the first work of art that you created? What was it and why was it so memorable?


I can’t really remember the first ‘work of art’ I created, but I do remember as a kid binge watching hours of The Simpsons whilst drawing cartoons. I guess they’re artworks, The Simpsons still inspires some of my work today.