Programme: Painting - BA (Hons)

Year: 2016

Painting graduate Megan Rea has barely stopped since graduating last year. Megan tells us about the architecture that drew her to study at Edinburgh College of Art (ECA) and the inspiration she found when she got here.

Tell us about your time at ECA

I primarily applied to ECA because of the grandeur of the building itself, and the studio spaces, which are very impressive; I think being in an inspiring environment fuels great ideas. Also, being so far from my home city of London was an exciting prospect.

During my time at ECA we did not have any organised class trips so in second year we arranged a trip to Amsterdam and visited all of the main art galleries. We regularly attended exhibition openings at galleries across Edinburgh so were constantly surrounded by new work and exciting visual interpretations. My volunteer work at Inverleith House art gallery in third year provided a nice break from the studio and working during Raoul De Keyser's exhibition allowed me to learn about an artist who I wouldn’t have otherwise.

My time at ECA, and the university in general, was fantastic. Everyone on my programme got on very well and a number of us remain very strong friends. I left feeling self-assured and with the ability to talk confidently about my work.

"My time at ECA, and the university in general, was fantastic. Everyone on my programme got on very well and a number of us remain very strong friends. I left feeling self-assured and with the ability to talk confidently about my work."

Megan Rea, Painting - BA 2016 alumna

Tell us about your experiences since leaving

Graduating was overwhelming and I feel like I was not fully prepared for it, but being selected for the Royal Scottish Academy (RSA) New Contemporaries show gave me something to work towards. Additionally, a group of us across Painting and Intermedia helped to set up Mutual, an artist-run studio co-operative based in Craigmiller, Edinburgh.

More recently, I completed an internship at an art gallery in Bangkok to get a taste of what it’s like to be on the other side of art display, which I found very beneficial. I was given a lot of responsibility with the curation of a variety of exhibitions and events, which was a fun learning experience.

Earlier this year I was awarded the RSA John Kinross Scholarship to draw architecture in Florence which I am about to start this month. I’m looking forward to incorporating an as yet unexplored style of architectural form into my work; hopefully the city will promote a lot of fresh ideas. I will soon begin preparing work for a solo show in Newcastle next year after winning the Biscuit Factory’s Open Contemporary Young Artist Award.

RSA New Contemporaries 2017
Image courtesy of Megan Rea
Megan Rea at RSA New Contemporaries 2017
Under the Hanging with corresponding model, 2016
Image courtesy of Megan Rea
Under the Hanging with corresponding model, 2016

Alumni wisdom

To someone about to start:

  • Make the most of the access to all of the workshops. Experiment with a variety of materials and processes: I wish I had taken more advantage.
  • Arrange tutorials with different tutors. It's eye-opening to get different advice and opinions on your work. A new perspective is always interesting and often beneficial to consider.
  • Go to the artist talks. You will be introduced to a plethora of new work, and it opens your mind as to what an artist can be. I would recommend attending the Art History lectures if you are not on the MA; I went to a number of excellent ones.

To someone about to leave:

  • Apply to take part in as many exhibitions as you can and you may be surprised by how far you get.
  • Have a strong social media presence.

Do you have a story to share? Email ecaalumni@ed.ac.uk and tell us about your path since graduation.


Are you interested in studying Painting - BA (Hons) at Edinburgh College of Art?

Related links