Instagram: @rowanrosiestudio

Please introduce yourself and tell us about what you do.

I’m Rowan, an artist from Glasgow where I currently live and work. I’m a painter and my practice is focused on abstract painting, using both oil and acrylic paint to create vibrant abstract paintings that explore materials and themes such as the natural world, travel and human and emotional experiences. While predominantly abstract in style, they are often interjected with gestural brushstrokes and forms that suggest more tangible elements from the physical world around us.

Aside from painting, I’m also a dancer and spend a lot of my creative energy outside of the studio dancing Kizomba, Bachata & Salsa. I love to travel and previously lived in Melbourne for 2 years, an experience that greatly influence my life & artistic outlook. My art has also taken me places, such as Greece, for an artist residency which inspired a whole exhibition of paintings upon my return.

I feel lucky to regularly exhibit my paintings in galleries, but I also sell paintings and prints on my website & love meeting collectors at my studio. Facilitating art workshops to a wide range of communities is also an important and rewarding part of my practice as an artist. I have been a volunteer workshop assistant for art therapy community group sessions including working with people with dementia, amputees, and people in recovery from addictions since 2015. I have been leading my own art workshops to the public for over 2 years and have worked on some fun collaborative events such as travel-themed Art & Wine sommelier nights and more meditative and therapeutic Art & Yoga sessions.

Could you explain more about how being a woman has affected your career?

The art world is heavily dominated by men and although that comes with challenges as a woman, I would say it has made me even more determined to succeed and I have learned a lot about myself and my capabilities in the process.

Being a woman, you have to be so ‘on it’ all the time to be taken seriously in a professional sense. So, when you compound that with working as an artist and not within a typical corporate job setting, you have to try extra hard to be taken seriously and give off a sense of professionalism & dedication to your work to progress in your career.

I have received sexist comment about my capabilities when it comes to practical work like lifting things / driving my paintings around etc. I also use a lot of pinks & pastel colours in my paintings and I think some might perceive it as ‘typical’ colour for a female artist but if a man were to do it, it would be ‘groundbreaking or some kind of interesting statement. I’ve also been told that those colour palettes probably won’t appeal to most men because of the colours which is absolutely not true as many of my collectors have been men.

On a positive note, women often reach out to me to ask my advice about art related topics & sometimes for professional advice on how to do with galleries etc. which has allowed me to connect with many fellow women in art. I am very grateful for my own network / community of women artists who I can call on for help & support. I have also enjoyed collaborating with some amazing female owned businesses & women’s brands that have really helped to develop my career & audience and I feel lucky to have received support in this way.

Can you name some other female (artist) that inspires you and explain why they do so?

Hiba Schahbaz – she is an amazing figurative painter that creates very beautiful and magical paintings with a lot of softness and a palette I adore. I love the way she sees the world and how she talks about art in interviews. She’s doing very well and it’s really inspiring to witness her well-deserved success.

Francis Lise Mc Gurn - she’s a painter from my hometown, Glasgow, who is doing exceptionally well and it’s again very inspiring to see a female artist from Glasgow do so well and it motivates me to keep going and keep working. I love her work, it’s fun and immersive and her colours are brilliant.

What has been the most challenging aspect of being a female artist?

I can sometimes find it challenging to not give in to the perceived expectations that people have of my work / an upcoming show etc. when I’m painting. I know my artistic voice very well but as a woman I have been so used to keeping everyone happy and not letting anyone down that in times of high-pressure, I really have to make a conscious effort to stay authentic to my own artistic vision & values and not let the views of others seep into my mind or what I’m painting. I guess as I am still at a relatively early career stage (7 years graduated) I am really conscious always of not letting myself be moulded into someone else’s vision and I always make decisions for the long-term and try not to say yes to immediate pay-off opportunities when they don’t feel aligned. However, this can be a challenge as I don’t like to disappoint people by turning down opportunities or in standing by my values.

What would you like people to notice in your artwork?

I hope that my work gives people a sense of freedom and inspires them to look a little deeper beyond the physical world. There is so much beauty when you get in touch with how a place or experience makes you feel as opposed to how it looks at first glance. One of my biggest passions in life is to travel and I’m incredibly grateful to have the freedom and fortune to be able to travel. I think it’s so important, especially as a woman, to travel on your own at some point in your life. We can learn so much from experiencing other cultures. On a personal level we can grow our self-confidence and resilience by dealing with the inevitable things that can and will go wrong along the way. Most of my work is inspired by my travels in some way and I hope it will remind people of their own special moments of personal growth and memories of this world’s innate beauty.

Rowan is wearing our GISELA coat, GALORUM pants and GAMANJI top.