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Kimmie Simpson

Tattoo artist and Edinburgh College of Art graduate, Kimmie Simpson on finding her artistic voice and her recent involvement in art and anatomy at the University.

Name Kimberley Simpson
Degree Course BA Hons Sculpture
Year of Graduation 2009
Kimberley Simpson

Your time at the University

I’ve always loved Edinburgh as a city, it’s a truly inspiring place to live and study. I always planned on applying to Edinburgh College of Art, it just felt like the right choice for me. During my final years of high school I attended multiple summer school and evening courses at ECA, they intensified the hunger I had to study art and in 2005 I received an unconditional acceptance.

The first year was incredible, I got to experience many different disciplines of art & design while meeting lots of new and wonderful people. I became enamoured with sculpture and decided to focus on that for my final 3 years. It was an incredible experience and a wonderful chance to focus on my art and develop my own personal style. Devastatingly in 2006, the sculpture department suffered the loss of the amazing Paul Carter who was both a friend and an inspiration to me. I carry his teachings with me and I’m very glad I got a chance to work with someone like him.

Aside from my artistic studies, I also had a unique opportunity to become a NMPH (non-medical personal helper) for a fellow student with hearing difficulties. This was very rewarding and gave me a rare understanding of his everyday struggles. It also let me see the beauty of what art could provide to someone who is differently abled.

Throughout my time at ECA I also worked 23 hours a week in a shop to support my University habit. I ploughed everything I earned back into my art and it’s fair to say my blood, sweat and tears went into my degree. Attending ECA was not easy, I was constantly challenged and at times I really struggled to find my voice amongst a room full of artists. However, the experience was life-changing and I am stronger because of it. 

Attending ECA was not easy, I was constantly challenged and at times I really struggled to find my voice amongst a room full of artists. However, the experience was life-changing and I am stronger because of it.

Kimberley Simpson

Tell us about your Experiences since leaving the University

Once I graduated, I confess I was at a bit of a loss and I had no clear sense of direction. I started looking at post-graduate courses and found a fantastic programme at Edinburgh Napier University where I did my Masters in Interdisciplinary Design. This was a completely different experience to ECA, instead of being in a workshop or studio, I spent most of my time in front of a computer. I was still designing sculptures though and I was able to let my imagination run riot. I like to think it rounded off my skill set well. After my graduation from Napier I went straight out to find some full time work to pay my bills and afford me the time to discover a career path. I now work as a tattoo artist, which I love. No greater compliment than the idea of someone wearing my art for life!  

Last year I was approached by Dr Nichola Robertson and Dr Megan Anderson to collaborate with them on the new and very exciting Art & Anatomy programme they were organising. My sister is a doctor too and I had always been fascinated by the human body, so I was very excited to be part of something so innovative. Although I’d never done body painting before, ECA had taught me to always try new things and to throw yourself in at the deep end.  It is a fantastic compliment to my other artistic practices and I am really looking forward to all our future endeavours.

Alumni wisdom

Stay true to yourself and your art. It sounds simple but it’s hard to achieve.