Artist Robin Footitt hopes once again to immerse himself in the Big Apple's thriving arts scene

After being awarded an internship in 2006 at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) - one of the largest art institutions in the world - it's been his ambition to return to the city and put his experience to good use
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“More than 5,000 people worldwide applied for the position I was awarded at MoMA,” he says, “which was assisting the curator of the Prints & Illustrated Books Department with a European print survey show called Eye on Europe. This involved research and filing, but it also gave me an understanding of how a large global arts institution works.

“While I was doing the internship, I lived in the South Bronx among artists, musicians and other creatives in the old piano district near the bridge to Manhattan. It became a home away from home and everyone there was really welcoming – taking the train into the city everyday made a big impact on me.

“I have experienced a lot since going there – I completed an MA in painting at the Royal College of Art and a studio residency in Paris – but I want to build on my experience of New York and see whether it might be possible to extend my studio work independently abroad.

“I would like to make frequent visits to New York over the next year, as a number of exciting exhibitions are happening there, including Greater New York 2010, which takes place once every five years, and the 2010 Whitney Biennial.

“For me, it has always been my wish to continue developing my own visual ideas. I am hard-working and have used opportunities to not only further my art, but also my experiences in life.

“My ideas originate from painting and drawing. This can take forms similar to their traditions, but also mirror experiments I make in the studio with installation and various different surfaces. I’m inspired by a multitude of experiences and conversations – I think editing what excites you is when the origins become a vision you wish to impart on an audience.

“I am currently in a studio residency at The Florence Trust in Highbury, North London, and planning for the trust’s winter open studios at the end of January, a group exhibition in Bergamo, Italy, in February and various ideas for new paintings. I want to challenge myself with ambitious exhibition ideas and collaborate with galleries and artists of other disciplines.”

Explaining why he entered the Great Britons competition, he says: “I applied because the opportunity to travel cannot be underestimated. There is only so much you can do from one place and to be able to diversify your knowledge by challenging yourself is a natural progression. Winning these flights could potentially alter my future in ways I cannot foresee.

“I wish everybody else in the competition good luck – they are all dedicated in their own fields and I have nothing but respect for that.”