Inês-Hermione Mulford Surgical Still-Life voted the Jackson's One to Watch by visitors to FBA Futures 2017

Inês-Hermione’s Surgical Still Life was painted as part of a series of works she produced after shadowing craniofacial surgeons at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford. It was selected to appear as part of FBA Futures 2017, Mall Galleries’ annual survey of recent graduates working in representational art.

Inês-Hermione has just graduated with a BA from Edinburgh College of Art and will receive a voucher for £250 worth of art materials to spend at Jackson's Art Supplies to help her to carry on painting. Jackson’s Art Supplies have been sponsoring the FBA Futures One to Watch Award since 2015.

We spoke to her about being selected to participate in the FBA Futures exhibition, winning the visitors' vote, her work and her plans for the future:

"Being selected to exhibit as part of the FBA Futures exhibition was an incredible opportunity to further my career and the confidence booster I needed after graduating from my Painting degree at Edinburgh College of Art. Seeing my artwork alongside other art graduates in such a prestigious venue as Mall Galleries was a surreal experience, but one that has only increased my desire to make art. 

However, winning the Jackson’s ‘One to Watch’ Art Prize has, and I don’t want to sound cheesy, made me believe that becoming an artist is not such a faraway dream as I have thought. Especially as it’s an award voted for by the public. Support from family, peers and tutors is amazing, but to have that encouragement from people in no way connected to you is unrivalled. 

This painting is one of a series I produced in reflection on my time spent shadowing craniofacial surgeons at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford. While the status of skill in art, especially representational art, is continuously challenged in the contemporary art world, skills are the foundation of surgery. Although they are very separate professions today, historically artists and surgeons could be one and the same. This honed skill of manual dexterity is just as important in surgery as it is in my own painting. As stated by Tim Ingold ‘every hand-drawn line is a trace of a gesture’ just as every gesture made by the surgeon with the scalpel leaves a mark, a scar, the surgeon leaves a trace of what once was. It is the notion of drawing as a process of thinking, not the projection of a thought (Phipps 2006). The precision and care surgeons take when undergoing surgery is reflected in my paintings.

I have started planning more work along similar lines; on the cross overs between art and science, with hopefully another placement in a hospital. My work is very dependent on research and anthropological study as I feel a full emersion in a chosen theme is key to its representation. Even so, I am currently enjoying a little down-time after 20 years in education, and over the past few months have been working mainly on commissioned works. Now, however, I am looking at continuing my education as previously intended, and am applying for an art Masters at the Edinburgh College of Art. An institution that has supported me, and guided me to develop my own notions about art and where I can take it. 

For me, the arts and the sciences are interlinked more than people realise or give it credit for. Edinburgh College of Art did not hinder my desire to study the sciences alongside my art degree but instead instilled in me the importance to question and challenge these stigmas; to understand and reveal the overlaps between what is idealistically deemed ‘artistic’ and ‘academic’ and to ultimately prove art’s place within the sciences.

Because after all as James Martin (2012) said ‘Creativity is really a critical element of how human beings advance in all our disciplines. Where medicine and science need help from art is in looking over the horizon, in looking at something in a completely different way. Thinking as an artist means connecting the dots that aren’t next to each other’.

See the FBA Futures 2017 Exhibition online now