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How did you get that job?
Name Simon Laurie RSW RGI
Job Title Arts Convenor of the Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts, or RGI for short. Company RGI. It may have been founded back in 1861 but the Institute is forward thinking when it comes to promoting and encouraging Scotland's contemporary art and
artists. The award of RGI is made to artists for artistic merit and dedication to the Institute, and there are only 50 RGIs at any given time, including John Byrne and Barbara Rae. If a place becomes available, your name is put forward and the Institute looks at your work over the past 10 years. At the heart of all this is the RGI’s Annual Exhibition which is open to all artists in Scotland and elsewhere, with awards of cash prizes. This year marks the 149th exhibition.
When did you start your job? I took on the position around five years ago. I am also an artist and work from a studio at The Briggait. I mainly work on contemporary semi- abstract, still life and landscape paintings.
So what does your job actually involve? My main purpose is to arrange and hang the Institute’s annual exhibition of paintings, sculpture, drawings and prints. We usually have around 1200 entries, and going through them is an day-long affair, and then we have three days to hang them, so it’s full-on for that week. Some of the awards and prizes have been in place for years, and we are fortunate in the current climate that new ones are still being offered. Best / Worst Aspects? You get so much satisfaction out of seeing the months of work coming together at the exhibition on the opening night, when the pictures are on the wall and people mingling with a glass of wine and enjoying the show. On the other hand there is a feeling of dread when looking at over 300 artworks still in their
wrapping in a half-finished exhibition space and only three days to hang the show; it still gives me a few sleepless nights! Looking back, what advice would you give to a young Simon at the start of his career? You have to be very determined and not react too negatively to the knocks and rejections you encounter on your journey as an artist. Believing in yourself and your talent is critical.
And finally . . . tell us more about what is going on at the RGI? As well as shows and talks at the RGI Kelly Gallery in Douglas Street, Glasgow, the highlight of the year is the annual RGI exhibition which opens to the public on the 28 October and runs on to 20 November 2010 at The Mitchell in Glasgow. It showcases the very best of contemporary art in Scotland with over 300 artworks. Visit our website www.royalglasgowinstitute.org. Entry forms and labels can be obtained from our office at 5 Oswald Street, Glasgow, G1 4QR.
4–18 Nov 2010 THE LIST 93