The RGI Graduate Award is awarded to emerging artists at the GSA Degree show, in recognition of outstanding work. The three recipients, Charlotte Hayes, Megan Squire and Charlotte Elizabeth, are all recent graduates from The Glasgow School of Art (GSA). The winners, from the School of Fine Arts, were selected by the RGI artist judging panel which consisted of Thyme James, Sean Ellcombe and the RGI President Adrian Wiszniewski RSA, Hon FRIAS, HRSW. We interviewed (socially distanced) each of the artists about what winning the award has meant to them, how they are coping with lockdown life and about the upcoming exhibition. The RGI Graduate Award Exhibition has been rescheduled for June 2021 due to the ongoing pandemic.* About the Artist RGI Award Winner, 2020, Charlotte Roberts. Charlotte Elizabeth Roberts is a photographer and printmaker currently based in Glasgow, Scotland. Guided by an accumulation of voices from all ages, the artist ensures that the smaller aspects of life are not lost to a dream of a greater destiny. Combining photographic images and printed text the artist illustrates our more solemn emotions; placing emphasis on what lies inside the mind of the viewer. Upon viewing the photographs, you take on the role of Rückenfigur: looking out to landscapes which contain little to no indications of human life. On reflection you become acutely aware of the vastness of time and space and consequently, our insignificance within it. It is this Proustian-like moment that reminds the viewer life is not as dull as it may seem and that sometimes we just forget what it feels like to be alive. Interview with Charlotte How did the RGI Prize help with your practice? I am so grateful to be a recipient of the RGI New Graduate Award. I hadn’t imagined myself pursuing a career in the arts after graduating as I was lacking confidence in my ability to make art and I felt I had to conform to an art school stereotype. Like many others, I felt more confused about who I was as an artist when I was leaving university than when I had started. I made drastic changes to my art practice in the final few months of university which ultimately changed the outcome of my degree show. To be given this award based on these decisions I made has been the reassurance I was looking for. It has become clear to me since, that making art for yourself (and not what others expect of you) is crucial as an artist. Becoming a member of the RGI has also been part of the award and this has allowed me to make connections with other artists and graduates who have kindly given me the support and guidance needed after graduation, something that is often so hard to find. So, for all of these reasons, I am truly thankful. What do you hope to achieve with the RGI Exhibition? The graduate exhibition is going to be useful for observing my portfolio from a curatorial perspective. After our degree show exhibition moved online, it meant I had to quickly adapt my work (which was intended to be an installation) to translate accordingly, making this exhibition the first opportunity I’ve had to exhibit any of my work in situ. I am hoping to test the effectiveness of my images: my key concept being the brief moments of reflection upon viewing a photograph. Equally, I am excited to work alongside Megan Squire and Charlotte Hayes, who also received the award. What do you have planned since graduating? Since graduating it has been important to focus on what making art means to me. I have been determined to run my own business for a long time, but I have often found excuses to delay it. However, given the current job climate and my inclination not to take for granted the situation at hand, I have been inspired to launch my own business designing prints and stationery that help guide us to self-actualization; something I believe I should be exploring as an artist. I have used the prize money from the RGI to buy a refurbished printing press, giving me access to a resource that is less accessible out-with a university environment. This has allowed me to complete projects that had to be put on pause in my final year of study. Starting this business has been the perfect way to keep up my creative momentum and give me something to wake up for, at a time where routine can easily go awry. My 2021 vision is to take charge of my own happiness and I am excited to see where this project is going to take me. How have you been making work during a global pandemic? The past year has slowed down the pace of my life considerably and never has it been more relevant look at the world with the generosity of an artist: as we can find pleasure in the simplest, most mundane aspects of life. Despite everything, life still has so much to offer, I am so well rested and fortunately have had very little distractions, consequently, my mind has become a stream of ideas and concepts for new projects. I also seem to have unknowingly taken on an attitude of testing these ideas without any self-censoring; something I have often found difficult. Obviously, the opportunities to go out and explore have been scarce, so instead I have taken this time to revisit previous bodies of work; now looking at life with a more grateful sensitivity. I have learnt the importance of not only documenting beautiful places, but the importance of recounting tales of life itself and all the melancholy, sad and anxious moments it entails. Works by the Artist: ‘Altar’, photograph, 2020 ‘Ruckenfigur’, photograph, 2019 ‘Mind’, photograph, 2020 ‘Soul’, photograph. ‘Body’, photograph by Charlotte Roberts. ‘Wave’, photograph. To view a larger image of the works, please click on the image. *Please note that the exhibition will adhere to all Covid restrictions and due to this the dates may change.