Wendy Helliwell, a self-taught, visual artist from Edinburgh, has been announced as Virgin Hotels Edinburgh’s latest Artist in Residence, taking up the highly sought-after position from August until October

The Artist in Residence initiative supports local creatives with free workspaces and showcasing opportunities, with applications now open for future artists to take the remaining vacancy for the year

Virgin Hotels Edinburgh has named local creative, Wendy Helliwell, as its new Artist in Residence, taking up the position from August until October.

The Artist in Residence programme is dedicated to supporting the city’s creative community, offering artists a three-month residency with access to a purpose built art studio, nestled within the old India Buildings’ turret of Virgin Hotels Edinburgh – The Unicorn Room.

The hotel issued an open call for artists earlier this year to apply for the rare opportunity to have a free workspace and showcasing opportunities within the iconic Old Town property. After a rigorous selection process, Wendy Helliwell was awarded the latest Artist in Residence position, with applications now open for creatives to apply for the final vacancy this year.

As a visual artist, Wendy takes inspiration from fashion and pop culture in her work. Primarily self-taught, Wendy incorporates multiple materials, such as fashion magazines and clothing, in a sustainable and innovative way, to create unique, three dimensional art forms. Wendy’s passion for creativity and pushing the boundaries is synonymous with the iconic interior design elements of the hotel.

The position will commence in August, during The Edinburgh Festival Fringe, where Wendy will be giving discarded Festival materials, such as promotional flyers, a new lease of life to create never before seen art pieces. These creations will eventually be on sale and displayed on the staircase leading up to the hotel’s stunning Oculus Lounge. This forms part of the valuable offering of Virgin Hotels Edinburgh’s Artist in Residence initiative – providing artists with a free gallery space within the hotel and the chance to sell their artwork, with all proceeds going directly to the artist.

While Wendy is working on her latest creations in The Unicorn Room, the hotel will be showcasing her work inspired by the music industry, tying in effortlessly to the heritage of the wider Virgin brand. Work on display will include Wendy’s punk-themed “No Lip” piece which has been created using an upcycled 80’s punk leather jacket and Sex Pistols vinyl.

Wendy was first introduced to Virgin Hotels Edinburgh upon the hotel’s opening, when she was selected by bespoke art consultancy, Visto Artwork, to create artwork for the hotel. Pieces previously commissioned include the iconic “Virgin Lips” which was constructed from one pair of jeans and magazine cuttings, located beside the hotel’s concierge.

Mafalda Albuquerque, General Manager at Virgin Hotels Edinburgh, said: “This is a really exciting time for Virgin Hotels Edinburgh as we announce Wendy as our new Artist in Residence. Wendy is unbelievably talented, and we’ve already had the privilege of hosting some of her artwork in the hotel.

“Commencing in August, just in time for Edinburgh’s Festival Fringe, this residency will provide Wendy with a special opportunity to capture Edinburgh at its very best. Guests and visitors can book in to meet Wendy and go on an exclusive tour of her studio, to see where the magic unfolds.

“The Artist in Residence programme marks our commitment to supporting the vibrant creative community in Edinburgh. Applications are open for creatives to apply to be our final Artist in Residence of the year and we’re looking forward to seeing the submissions. There has been some incredible talent so far”.

Wendy Helliwell, said: “I couldn’t contain my excitement when I spotted the open-call for Virgin Hotels Edinburgh’s Artist in Residence. It has come at such an opportune time and I feel so inspired to create some exciting, new pieces.

“I don’t come from a traditional art background and so to have this opportunity to share my art with the world is truly amazing. I’m looking forward to meeting guests and visitors and taking them on a tour of my new studio space. I can’t wait to get started”.

Applications are now open for aspiring artists who would like to be considered for the next Virgin Hotels Edinburgh’s Artist in Residence spot. For more information please email: artist.inresidence@virginhotels.com.

Guests booked in for Virgin Hotels Edinburgh’s Afternoon Tea experience in The Oculus Lounge will have the opportunity to not only view Wendy’s masterpieces but also go on a private tour of her studio space.

For reservations for Virgin Hotels Edinburgh’s exquisite Afternoon Tea in the stunning Oculus lounge, please email: afternoontea@virginhotels.com

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