Rona Innes Art - I started creating in pre-school, making Plasticine dinosaurs and drawing volcanoes

Updated: Dec 20, 2019


Why did you choose to be an artist/designer?

It wasn't a choice and I can't shake it off! Like most kids I spent a huge amount of time drawing and making stuff but just never stopped! My other favourite subject at school was Biology which makes sense with what I do now.

What medium do you work in?

Paint, pastel, charcoal & wood. Charred sticks from the campfire on rocks when camping, like a caveman. I've also started making masks as a personal side project so am currently experimenting with modelling mediums.

What's your background, have you always been an artist/designer?

I moved to London at 16 to go to art school, first a National Diploma in Art & Design at Kingsway College, which I loved, then a BA Hons in Fine Art at Goldsmiths. I graduated at a point when video art ruled and painting had become highly unfashionable. Digital art was emerging and it was an incredibly exciting time. Reluctantly at first, I put down my brushes and taught myself computer software then completed an MA in Computers in Design, a pioneering course before digital art was really a thing.

From there I worked as a Special Effects artists on Hollywood feature films then made interactive installations for retail and the entertainment industry, but something always felt wrong and although they were both new and exciting industries I realised working all day in a computer based studio environment was not for me.

How has your practice changed over time?

My sketchbooks, spanning decades show recurring themes of smudgy charcoal drawings depicting anatomy, corvids and symbols in a bold, slightly dark and otherworldly style. That much has stayed consistent but for decades I worked commercially and my artwork was dictated by client briefs and commissions, with little time to do any personal work. This changed a few years ago when I decided to focus on selling products rather than providing artistic services. On a whim, in 2012 I took part in a daily sketching challenge and it was at that point the birds and wild creatures resurfaced in my artwork, squawking and howling as if to say, 'where have you been?!'

What Does Your Art Mean to You? What Does Your Artwork Represent?

My work depicts wild creatures and wild places. They represent childhood memories of hill climbing in the Cairngorms. My drawings are intricate and built up from semi-chaotic actions such as layering up fluids and powders with detailed pen and brush work. It's a process of reflection..

How and when did you started creating….?

Pre-school, making Plasticine dinosaurs and drawing volcanoes

How would you describe your creations?

Mischievous Spirit Animals. Although my current work has a realistic style my animals represent spirits rather than cutesy tame pets. There is wildness about them and they are more likely to sneak up behind you and bite your head off.

What inspires you?

Wild, untamed nature, mountains, ancient forests, Japanese woodblock prints, mythology and symbols. Travel adventures. Hair – I love artificial hair as a medium! Teeth – my dad was an Orthodontic Technician so I grew up playing with and loving false teeth! Regularly visiting exhibitions. My studio is a Wunderkammer of inspiring bones, feathers, shells and masks collected on adventures around the world and from flea markets.

Where do you show / sell your art?

SDX Edinburgh & Glasgow, An Independent Zebra, Art & Craft Collective, Geek Bothy, Cloudberry Gifts and my website


Do you think art can have an impact in the local community?

Yes, free or cheap art workshops connect people to each other and their communities and can help with mental health. Street Art makes painting accessible to everyone without the need to visit a gallery.

Who are your biggest influences?

Ukiyo-e, Munch, Der Blaue Reiter group, to name a few. The Japanese aesthetic Wabi-sabi. Artwork by ancient cultures from around the world. I come from a nature loving family, we were forever collecting and studying stones, bones, plants and feathers etc so I was also influenced by that.

Which current art do you think is having an impact in the world right now?

Kid's banners on the School Strike for the Climate.


What difference has working with SDX made to your business?

I joined SDX Edinburgh about three months after they opened so have been there right from the start. SDX has provided me with a platform to sell work in prime retail locations and reach a much wider audience. I have also learned a lot about marketing and selling in terms of displays, consumer trends and the direction of my own work. I often get online sales and follow up work from visitors to the shops too.