Saving the tiger becomes art form

One of Scott's creations
One of Scott's creations

A YOUNG graduate has made a fast start to his artistic career and is using his talents to help the world’s wildlife.

Scott McCracken (24) is one of scores of artists and celebrities - including guitarist Chris Rea and Ginger Spice Geri Halliwell - involved in the Jungle City Edinburgh project and earlier this year was presented with a life size sculpture of a Siberian Tiger on which to paint his own unique design.

He said: “It’s for a good cause - protecting endangered species - and gives new artists like myself the chance to have their work seen alongside more established names from all over the UK.

“The way I paint is quite intuitive and I never really know what the end result will be.

“I just gave organisers examples of my work and told them it will be something like this.

“I had an idea it would be something to do with the digital age - I changed the name Siberian Tiger to Cyber-ian Tiger to reflect this.

“It’s sad, but in years to come computer animation and images may be all that we have left to remember some of these animals.

“It was a lot more difficult than I thought it would be - I’m used to working on something that’s flat. It could have been worse - I was supposed to be working on a crocodile.”

The former Grangemouth High School pupil, who recently graduated with distinction with a Masters degree in Fine Art from Edinburgh College of Art, will be showing off his work closer to home in the Beyond the Frame exhibition in the Park Gallery, Callendar House next month.

The exhibition, which runs from September 4 to November 5, features a collection of work from other Edinburgh College of Art graduates and includes former Larbert High pupil Christine McSorley (25), who will be displaying some of her abstract paintings.

Gillian Smith, Park Gallery artistic development officer, said: “It’s really a way to support these young artists.

“There are a number of events running along with the exhibition and one will see Scott and the other artists talking to people and giving advice on how to go about getting into an art college.”

Scott’s talent and desire to pursue an artistic career - he passed his Higher Art while still in fourth year - meant he did not need much help getting into art college, although the former Grangemouth High School Dux and vice captain did have plenty of support.

“I really got into art at Grangemouth High and was inspired by my teacher David Clark who had studied at Edinburgh College of Art.”

Heading straight for college after his sixth year, Scott took four years to gain his BA in art and then another two to get his MFA, winning the prestigious George Jackson Hutchison prize for outstanding painting of 2009.

He staged a degree show which not only won the Andrew Grant Travel Award, but also brought his work to the attention of Manchester-based gallery Blank Media Collective which finalised a deal for four of his paintings to be shown at an exhibition in the city from September 9 to September 25.

Scott said: “When you leave college you worry about what you are going to do, but you just have to try and find as many opportunities as possible.

“I’m quite surprised about how many opportunities have come my way though.”

Scott’s “Cyber-ian” Tiger will be on display outside School for Infomatics at the University of Edinburgh, in Potterrow from September 6 to September 25.

Visit Scott’s website at www.scottmccracken.co.uk for more information.