Tell us about yourself
My name is Tessa Lynch and I’m from Epsom in Surrey. I began my BA degree in Tapestry (now part of Intermedia) at ECA in 2003 and graduated in 2007, having taken a year out to be the College’s Student President and gone on an exchange to Kyoto Saga University of the Arts, Japan. Before I moved to Edinburgh, I’d done a year’s Foundation course at Camberwell College of Arts in London and, after I left, I did an MFA at Glasgow School of Art. I am currently completing a one-year Gordon Foundation Graduate Fellowship at Glasgow Sculpture Studios.
Tell us about your creative practice?
I guess I’ve always wanted to be an artist; actually felt that I needed to be one. I see it as a good career option, a very active career path. You have to be very self-motivated but, if you are, there are lots of opportunities and it’s great to be in charge of your own business. I get to travel a lot, for example.
My inspiration comes from my immediate environment. I’m interested in the politics that shape the world and how they’re reflected in what we see and experience on a day-to-day basis. I’m fascinated by the emotional impact of the environment – especially the built environment, urban settings, how they’re shaped and controlled and, in turn, how they shape us.
Why did you choose to study at ECA?
I came on holiday to Scotland when I was about 15 or 16, having been really interested in the Scottish music scene and badgered my parents into taking me! When I was there, I visited ECA and Glasgow College of Art and was really impressed by them both… though Edinburgh was sunnier. At school in Epsom, I had a teacher whose daughter studied at ECA, so the place stuck in my mind. It always felt like an option.
What did you like about ECA?
I loved the scale and the people. I really felt part of something, a specialist institution where you were encouraged and invited to participate in everything and the classes were small and comfortable. I was free to experiment, to try things out, among a good, supportive group of friends.
Having previously lived in Surrey, moving into a tenement felt like the best thing ever and I haven’t lived in anything but a tenement since! Edinburgh has lots of great venues and galleries, not only to visit, but to exhibit and perform in. Again, it’s a question of scale. The size of Edinburgh means you can really make your mark in, and on, the city.
What have been your biggest achievements since you graduated?
The little things can feel like the biggest achievements. Like showing abroad for the first time and someone else paying for your flight! There’s something special about being asked to do a solo show in Edinburgh too. My GENERATION exhibition, Raising, at Jupiter Artland, for example.
What advice would you give someone wanting to study, and have a career in, your area of expertise?
I’d pass on some advice someone gave to me when I started. There are days when you might feel uninspired but come in anyway, every day. Participate. Be part of the place; part of the fabric of the college. Support your peers. If they need an audience, be one. The people you see who are there every day, they’re the ones who are still active in the art world, still doing what they love, still achieving.