Master of Fine Art 2010 - 2012

Eleanor Buffam

Artist

Above image credit: Robert Attard.

What do you consider your biggest achievement to date?
Being featured in the Scottish Portrait Awards in 2018.

Talk us through your career path since graduating.
I have exhibited internationally and have had a few sales, although this has not been enough to live on and I've had to have a day job as well. I spent 5 years in London which was great in some ways - big international art scene, lots of exciting galleries and exhibitions. However financially it was a struggle as we had to pay so much money in rent for our flat as well as for studio space. I'm glad I did it though, as I've made some lasting friendships among other artists, curators, and art critics, and I can continue to visit and exhibit in London (well, once this pandemic is over, anyway!) We have since moved to Edinburgh where we have been able to buy a house. I now have a studio in my house which is amazing, and since moving to Edinburgh I've exhibited with the Scottish Portrait Awards in the Scottish Art Club as well as at the Scottish National Gallery. I dream of having a painting in the permanent collection of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery - fingers crossed this will happen for me someday!

What projects are you currently working on?
I am working on a series of portraits called "Invisible Disabilities" that depict people who are living with invisible disabilities, from chronic illness to colour blindness, to increase awareness that many people are struggling, and that it may not be obvious. I hope this will promote empathy. I'm also working on some smaller seascapes which are a great opportunity to experiment with techniques. I am also producing some short films for the Beltane Fire Festival, which is virtual this year due to Covid.

Do you have any tips for recent graduates?
It's a tough world out there but don't give up! Success is very up and down and can come when you least expect it. I recommend getting a day job in the arts if possible as it can lead to connections and opportunities.

How do you think studying at West Dean College prepared you for what you do now?
Some of the students who I studied with are now life long friends, and we continue to critique and support each other.

What's your favourite memory from your time at the College?
Hanging out in the Old Dairy eating cheese and drinking wine with good friends.

Find out more about the Master of Fine Art course