A Roybridge art graduate is one of 10 artists selected to take part in The Big Painting Challenge, a BBC talent show airing on Sunday February 12.

Ruaridh Lever-Hogg, 24, was selected from thousands of applicants to take part in the BBC one programme, which airs at 6pm.

Ruaridh, who was diagnosed as profoundly deaf as a baby, grew up outside Roybridge, where his parents run Aite Cruinnichidh hostel, and attended Lochyside primary and Donaldson’s School in Edinburgh, before finishing his schooldays in Mary Hare Grammar school for the deaf, also attended by his younger sister Erica.

He graduated with a degree in fine art from Dundee University’s Duncan of Jordanstone college and is now working towards his Masters.

After completing his graduate show last summer, Ruaridh was looking for new artistic opportunities when he received an email advertising the BBC Big Painting Challenge.

‘I thought it would be silly to not apply and try my luck to get through,’ he said.

He impressed the judges and was asked to audition. Speaking about the audition process, Ruaridh said: ‘I just gave my best to my painting and enjoyed it. It seemed to go really well and I showed I was very keen to get involved as I love learning something new and wanted to accept the challenge.’

He described finding out he had made it through to be on the show as ‘unbelievable’ and added he never expected to be on TV.

The show will have an elimination-style format, with the artists being set challenges in different locations and one leaving each week, until one champion is crowned.

Despite the competitive nature of the show, Ruaridh enjoyed socialising with his fellow contestants after long days of filming, some of which took place in and around Roybridge, and they still keep in touch and show each other their works.

The contestants were mentored throughout the process, another aspect of the experience Ruaridh enjoyed. He said: ‘My mentor, Pascal Anson, is fantastic, not only helping me with my painting, he was also very keen to learn sign language.’

Rather than setting him back, Ruaridh believes that being deaf helps him with his art. He said:’I believe my highly visual perception gives me an advantage.’

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