Ross Sinclair is a drummer, guitarist and founding member of The Soup Dragons. In the early 1990s Sinclair left the group to complete his studies at the Glasgow School Of Art.
Ross Sinclair is best known for his Real Life project, initiated in 1994 when he had the words 'Real Life' tattooed across his back. Since then Real Life has become a 23-year performance project, taking form in a wide range of exhibitions, public art and publication contexts.Over the two decades of the Real Life project, Sinclair's work has employed various mediums including performance, painting and music, often at the same time.
Through installation and audience participation Real Life has sought to challenge the conventional exhibition practice and connect with the public. These projects have been exhibited worldwide. Throughout the course of the project, a consistent thread of Sinclair's work has sought to address the nature of the individual, collective and national identities of Scotland.
During August 2015, Sinclair exhibited his work in 20 Years of Real Life at Edinburgh's Collective Gallery which celebrated 20 years of his Real Life project. Sinclair worked with teenagers to create 5 bands and produce an LP titled Free Instruments for Teenagers.
The most recent incarnation of the Real Life project came as part of a two-week residency Ross Sinclair undertook at the Shanghai Himalayas Museum in China, ahead of his solo exhibition titled Real Life is Dead/Long Live Real Life. This exhibition served to herald a new phase of Sinclair's on-going Real Life project. For the exhibition Sinclair added the text 'Is Dead' to the 'Real Life' tattoo.
The residency focused on the consistent themes of participation, performance and collaboration, coupled with Sinclair's use of music in his art throughout his career. Sinclair worked with students at the GSOA over a period of two years to develop and record two songs (Real Life is Dead and Long Live Real Life) which lay at the core of the exhibition. The songs were recorded in both English and Chinese.
In Shanghai, Sinclair worked with local musicians, artists and singers to create the Chinese-Scottish Real Life Orchestra - a musical dialogue between the Chinese audience and Sinclair's Real Life Project. The group came together in a collective voice, in English and Chinese, to share experiences through music. The orchestra presented a live performance at the opening reception of the Phase Three exhibition of CURRENT: Contemporary Art from Scotland, which provided the soundtrack to Sinclair's installation consisting of multiple editions of banners and videos representing the 23-years of the Real Life project. Participants were also invited to respond to the themes of Real Life is Dead/Long Live Real Life with words and pictures which were displayed on banners and placards.