Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Vicky Stonebridge and the Myth of Spare Time

Alert readers will have seen me mention Vicky Stonebridge a number of times already in this blog. Vicky is a freelance artist based in the North West Highlands of Scotland. She produces and teaches a wide range of art, illustrations and crafts. She has a website, which you should see.

Awesomely, Vicky will soon be off on the trip of a lifetime to Russia, where she will be a guest at an international symposium in the Republic of Tatarstan, exhibiting her artwork as an example of Scottish heritage.

Apparently, all this came about because Vicky has been working on a committee with another artist, Lynn Bennett-Mackenzie of Highland Open Studios. The organisers of the symposium contacted Lynn, as her work fitted their theme of folklore, fairy story and myth. They suggested she propose another UK artist to accompany her, and she put forward Vicky, who said:

"I leapt at the chance and was delighted to be accepted, as it will hopefully bring some focus to my work and I have always wanted to go to Russia.

I admire Lynn's work as she sticks to her guns and creates what she wants regardless of what people or markets say, whereas I get pulled a thousand directions."

More details can be found on Vicky's blog and on the BBC website.

In what she laughably refers to as her "spare time" Vicky is a retained firefighter and she was recently shortlisted in the Fire Service Commitment to Excellence Awards. This nomination was in recognition of the work she did over the last couple of years, creating a partnership between the Fire Service and a young carer support charity. She says:

"It was of course a team effort with other people still working on it now. We raised awareness, taught the Fire Service how to help young carers and their families, taught the children Fire safety, produced resources, power-points, information cards, and eventually a children's Fire Safety book, which I illustrated and has been distributed to all highland schools."

Since it's a well known Cy-fact that all my motives are ulterior, I should restate here the fact that Vicky is currently colouring my upcoming Markosia book, Slaughterman's Creed.

Her work on the book begins directly after a ten-year-plus break in the narrative, setting her the impossible task of giving the latter half of the comic a strikingly different tone to underscore the time gap, while still complementing Stephen Downey's artwork to best effect. The results I've seen so far have been nothing short of staggering. Take this recent page, by way of example:

Again, you can find more details of the life and work of this ridiculously multi-talented artist on her website, plus information about the Commitment to Excellence award and Russian symposium on her blog.

Did I mention she also co-runs a successful comics convention?

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