Central Station have been very kind and helped us promote and create content about our latest project, Rudimentary Perfection. By way of a thank you, they have asked us to share how we got to where we are as Recoat through some of our earliest jobs. I hope it is interesting to read…

Maybe it is easiest to start by saying what we actually do now and that I am Amy Whiten and I set up Recoat with Ali Wyllie 4 years ago. We juggle alot of balls, we run Recoat Gallery, teach workshops, paint murals, undertake design and illustration work, and make our own art work and exhibit it, amongst many other things! We’ve done many jobs and activities that have led us to the life we are leading just now, here are just five.

Ali is a graffiti artist and when we were at Art School, a local clothing brand, Syndicate commissioned him to do some designs for hoodies and t-shirts. As a launch for some of this the owner asked him to do a “live paint” at a skate park. A local council worker saw him and asked him to come and do spray painting workshops with a group of teenagers. This job was the starting point for what would become Recoat Workshops.

While I was at Art School I volunteered at the Dundee Disabled Children’s Association, an after school and residential club for children with special needs. This gave me invaluable experience that led me to work at Budddies, a similar group when I first moved to Glasgow. I loved this work and it inspired me to go on to do a Post Grad in Community Education, which heavily informs our workshop practice.

With the Graphic Design side of things, Ali has always been freelance, there isn’t a specific job he can pick out, he just started out by helping friends out with flyers and CD album covers etc, this built up his portfolio and got him some good swaps for paintings and favours we used when we set up Recoat! He says he never turned any work down, this gave him the opportunity to do lots of different kinds of work and how to juggle several jobs at once.

Out of Art School, I set up various profiles on portfolio sites. A company called soxpopuli.com saw my designs and commissioned me to illustrate some pieces for their new website. That was my first job and led to more work from the same client, but more importantly enhanced my self-belief and showed me how important self-promotion and web presence is.

In 2002 we undertook to curate, hang and promote three solo exhibitions in Edinburgh at the Total Kunst gallery. The project was self-motivated and voluntary. This experience was really important for us, and gave us the confidence to go ahead with Recoat Gallery.

Basically our advice would be work hard, try new things, promote yourself, be prepared to juggle many kinds of work (never mind pulling regular all nighters), to make ends meet and to reach your goals.

Good Luck and Good Night!


We’ve asked professionals in creative industries what jobs they have had in the past to get their foot through the door (or at least pay the rent). For more in the “My First 5 Jobs” series look here.