Mary Trodden and Fee Scroggie Interview

Andrea recently had the pleasure of chatting to Mary Trodden and Fee Scroggie, to discuss their upcoming work they will be exhibiting at Naked Aye Art’s next show.

Based in Edinburgh, they were both recently part of Out of Sight, a group exhibition of 12 artists.  Their works were an exploration of the realms of instinct, paradox and dreams, not too far from the Creep Me Oot theme of the latest Naked Aye exhibition.

Andrea met with them in Whitespace gallery on Howe Street, in the surroundings of their recent show.

What are you showcasing at Naked Aye Art this year?

M: For Naked Aye Art, I am planning on showing paintings from a series that I made after I came back from Prague.  When I was in Prague I saw an exhibition of symbolist art, and a lot of the paintings were about how technology meets nature, so it’s quite kind of satirical. One of the paintings was a photo of a motorcar driving down a road in the dark, and then there was a couple of fawns come up (half man, half goat) in the road, so it’s like this collision of culture and new technology.  In the same place there was an exhibition of medieval Christian art, and a series of paintings on the advent of Jesus.  There was actually twelve in the series so I did five.  They all include a significant part of the story of Jesus’s birth and tribulation, but really they’re not of him as a person. In mine it’s about psychological development.  All the paintings are stages of psychological development. They’re all oil painting.

Mary Image 1
The Annunciation – Mary Trodden


F: Are they all the same scale?

M: Yeah they’re all the same size.  I did them all together one after the other.  I really like, sort of graphic drawings, so the way I draw is very linear and geometric.  The way I paint is kind of illustrative I would say, whereas Fee is always in a fight with the paint, and I am kind of constructive.

F: You have more precision.  It’s just a totally different way of approaching it.  I have to completely destroy mine constantly, and Mary is always building it up.

What are you planning to do Fee?

F: I have a painting of this strange shimmering woman appearing out of the splatter of paint mess.  I always like to produce new work for shows which can sometimes be a bit tricky because you can end up working right up to the last minute and then you don’t have time to reflect on them.

There is something about this show because it’s about creepiness and darkness and my work is naturally a bit creepy.  The fact that I’ve got an excuse to ramp that up makes me very happy and excited.  I normally work flat on the floor, where I like my paints to be really drippy and really messy.  Then I make a mess pull out the image. If the image comes out too far I destroy it again and pull it back out again and destroy it again.  Some people might not see an image at all, they might see something completely different but I like ambiguity.  It’s a strange balance between illusion, and not too much of an illusion.

I like to make people to work to see it.

Fee Image 1
Fee Scroggie

What mediums do you use?

F: I like to use, because of what I’m talking about in my work, quite natural mediums.  I like to use natural pigments.  Equally I do use readymade oil paint, because it’s lovely and creamy and it feels delicious.  I’m very excited as I got a melting wax pot for Christmas, so I can start bringing in beeswax because that’s a great binder for pigments and a great ancient way of doing things.  I’m really interested in materials so I like to bring in things like sand, chalk, dust, dirt and all those sorts of things.  I’m looking forward to do more with natural material.

What would be your dream project?

M: Well I’m actually doing my dream project the now.  I’m working with friends and exhibiting work with friends.  I think art is like your life and it comes out of influences in your life. I sometimes forget about things like that, but when I’m in situations like something like this, I realise how lucky I am.

How has your practice changed over time since art school to now?

M: It’s brilliant coming out of college because it trains you, and now I’m good.  I’ve got a regular pattern and studio.  I’ve always being involved in making art, I just feel that I am properly an artist.

F: You have to earn it though, don’t you?  You can say you’re an artist but if you haven’t done anything for two years, then you can’t call yourself an artist.  You’ve got to be actively working, once you’re climbing the mountain, and then you can call yourself an artist.  It’s hard graft no matter how talented you are.  It’s amazing I didn’t realise that for quite a long time, I thought I could pull off something.  It does maybe look excellent for maybe a month, but if you look at it for two months there’s maybe nothing it that.

M: It’s a weird thing for me because I think you have to have suffered a blow.  I always knew I was an artist, and I knew I could go out and make things happen.

There is potential to control your own career.

Have you ever had a really memorable response to your artwork?

F: Where someone was physically sick?


Good or bad?

F: I had quite a memorable response to my degree show, where you get comments and an awful lot of people left comments.  I was looking back through it a year ago and people left comments like; what happened to you, you need help?  A lot of people even asked if I had ever thought about Jesus.  There was a lot of people that heartfelt genuinely felt that I was a really troubled lass.  The work was quite dark and it was about dysfunctional love.  It was dark, and I put out all my sketchbooks for people to look at.  There was a lot of these horrible mono prints and strange clothing that I had made myself, to keep people away from myself.  It was very sort of prickly kind of work, but I thought it had a really good black humour to it, and I thought it was quite tongue-in-cheek.

M: Yeah, definitely

F: Yeah it was dark but humorously dark.  I made things like sweeties with wasps and nails in it and voodoo dolls that could be touched with gloves with razor on them.  All these daft things. It was dark but humorously dark.

Fee and Mary’s work will be on show at Naked Aye, Creep Me Oot, the exhibition runs from the 2nd – 16th April 2016, at St Margaret’s House.

For more information on Fee and Mary’s work please visit: