Let me introduce you to Vivian Ross-Smith, a visual artist from Fair Isle who lives and works on the mainland of Shetland these days.
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I met visual artist Vivian Ross-Smith on the wildest day on our Shetland trip. Storm Gertrude is in full blast and turns the 25 minute drive from Lerwick to Weisdale into a crazy (ad)venture. Luckily the views over the Weisdale Sound make up for the wild ride.
And then there is Vivian, a young woman from Fair Isle who impresses with her down-to-earth attitude and gorgeous artwork. After moving to mainland Shetland for high school and college, Vivian left the islands for Art School in Aberdeen and work experience in Glasgow – but soon she was drawn back to her home. Now she’s based between her home in Lerwick and Weisdale, where she shares a studio with her father who is a glass artist himself.
Vivian’s art is closely linked to the islands – she gathers inspiration from their geology, the natural shapes and colours, the experiences she has when walking along the ocean or in the hills. Although she always thought she’d be a painter, she now includes all kinds of materials in her artwork – fish skins, knitwear, drift wood, scrap metal and rocks from the beach, fishing nets; they all come together in her pieces.
Currently she works a lot around the topic of sustainability and her most recent solo exhibition ‘Erosions’ at Newave Gallery in Aberdeen focused a lot on debates about a windmill park on the Isle of Yell.