Two Edinburgh College of Art (ECA) alumni from the Class of 2016 will be exhibiting at The Number Shop. Ed Compson, Fine Art - MA (Hons), and Eden Hawkins, Photography - BA (Hons), are the first recipients of the ECA Graduate Awards, an annual funded residency and solo exhibition, and were selected by The Number Shop committee at Degree Show.

The Number Shop (TNS) is an artist run organisation in the city centre of Edinburgh that provides affordable studios and exhibition space for recent graduates and emerging artists. They run events throughout the year, showcasing work from visiting and resident artists and have recently set up a print shop. In Glasgow they have taken on #24hourwindow, where Eden and Ed’s exhibitions will also be featured. ECA graduate Alistair Grant, Sculpture - BA (Hons), 2013, is Project Director at TNS, and explains the grants:

“The artists selected are given a two week residency period, using our Project Space as a studio to make new work, and a solo exhibition. This year, for Eden Hawkins' exhibition, TNS will host SPIN contemporary art discussion group. These types of discussion or talk events we want to continue with in the coming years and to improve on the project to make them very artistically stimulating and coveted. It’s important that the awardees receive a personal fee and materials budget so that they are appropriately supported to make new work whilst they are likely coming to grips with the life/work/art balance in the post graduation period.”

Both Ed and Eden are clear about the benefits that the award has as they come to terms with life as artists outside of University.

“Fresh out of ECA, the residency has helped me keep the momentum going I had built up towards the degree show,” Ed says. “Having people take interest in what you are making is uplifting but having a funded exhibition has been key to me making work that I really want to. It has been really great to be warmly welcomed into an artist run space, to see how they function and meet other young artists making exciting and interesting work.”

“Since my first encounter with the gallery I have felt encouraged and supported,” Eden agrees. “The work that is put in to organising and funding the show has exceeded my expectations. After The Number Shop exhibition, I will be working towards the RSA New Contemporaries exhibition.”

Though their exhibitions are very different, both Eden and Ed seem to have a reflexive interest, as artists, in how a piece of work is produced, and the implications that production has for a piece of work.

“My practise is concerned with the space between the realities of a constructed set and how it is translated through a camera,” Eden says. “By revealing cogs behind my compositions I am attempting to simultaneously build and tear down fictions. I have constructed obscure and half tangible spaces where the pipes, arches and windows are both familiar and abstract. The photographic series suggest digital rendering whilst simultaneously exposing feeble mechanisms that hold the sets together.”

“I make paintings because I believe there is still room for discourse in the medium,” says Ed. “I am curious as to what painting can still be in an era of an abundance of digital imagery, automated mark making and computer programs that can generate a million compositions with the use of a single code. If I can make someone else interested in this discussion then I feel like I have achieved something.”

In the next year The Number Shop is hoping to expand into the neighbouring property to improve the exhibition space, the residency studios and the open access workshops and facilities.

“We want to keep improving and focus on our exhibition programme and how we select, curate and work with the artists involved,” says Alistair. “Whilst TNS is an idealistic reaction to the lack of artist opportunities in Edinburgh, it is a gesture that needs to be met by a wealth of other equivalent activities, initiatives and organisations so that Edinburgh can retain its future talent. So if anyone reading would like advice please do get in touch.”

Ed Compson’s show opens on Friday 11th November 2016 at 7pm and runs until 20th November 2016.

Eden Hawkins shop opens on Friday 25th November at 7pm and runs until 4th December 2016.