Each year, graduating students of all disciplines have the opportunity to show their work to a wide audience at the annual ECA Degree Show. Having in international reputation as one of the most successful independent art colleges in Europe, the Degree Show is a calendar highlight not only for Edinburgh residents, but it attracts the attention of creative and curious minds throughout the UK and Europe. As such, the college attracts students of alternative mindsets and highly creative capabilities. As stated on the ECA Degree Show webpage, 'Individual work is never censored, unless it is illegal or contravenes health and safety regulations', going on to warn guests that some people may find some work to be offensive or indecent.
Opening night was buzzing with excitement as fashionable guests mingled amongst the artwork. As usual, art must be viewed with a glass of wine in hand, and the bar was run dry before the two hour private opening came to an end. Having spent a year only conversing with the architecture crowd, I was curious to see what happens in the other studios throughout the large, maze-like complex. I'll admit, I don't understand much of the contemporary or intermedia arts, nevertheless, there were pieces that fascinated and repelled me in the best sort of way. The painting, on the other hand, was a bit of a disappointment, to be honest. I didn't see anything new or even beautiful; it seems too many of the students were going for shock value or striving to show the world the depths of their dark tortured soul. I don't have time for that nonsense, but I suppose it appeals to someone.
The architecture studios displayed some interesting projects, some with a high level of graphic and artistic skill. However, in an age of free information, architectural design in adopted and adapted to the extent that the end products have little or no representation of locality or place. In some, there were obvious influences of homeland architecture, such as the library designed by Petter Gillebo, which exhibited the typical beauty of clean forms and natural light in Nordic architecture. Rory McCance is another very talented student who can create drawings that are both admired and envied by the rest of us.
Finally, the textile, fashion and costume departments undoubtedly were the pinnacle of the show. The lines this year were designed to meet the requirements of a competition held by Burberry, with an internship awarded to a talented few. Felix Chabluk Smith's is one of the three national winners of the Burberry competition, but this isn't the first notoriety he's received. Early this spring, Smith attended the Graduate Fashion Week in London, at which Smith was interviewed by the BBC. Not only did Smith take home the Best Menswear award for his 'Kin' line, but ECA student Kyle Spires was awarded the Karen Millen Portfolio Award and the ECA fashion department was awarded the Stand Design Award.
Caroline Engel for Danish Teak Classics