What has the highlight been of Top Arts 2016?
I think realising that perhaps what you have creatively, is truly something special, and different, I guess because it is recognised beyond the class room, by industry professionals. For me, painting is a very personal thing, in the way that it conveys through imagery my view or a certain view on the world, it’s a sort of contemplation for me, and to have that contemplation acknowledged, appreciated, even understood and perhaps even shared was a great achievement for me.

Do you plan to pursue a career in creative industries?
I really hope to pursue a creative career, however I think painting and art will always be a hobby rather than a profession to me, primarily because I do it for myself, as an expression of emotion or observations and simply because I enjoy it. If it by chance makes me money then that will be a bonus, but for now, I see a future career in other creative industries such as writing.

Who are your favourite artists at the moment?
One of my favourite artists at the moment is Grayson Perry, I was unfamiliar with his works before seeing many of them at the Museum of Contempory Art Australia in his exhibition; Grayson Perry: My Pretty Little Art Career. His work is so satirical and yet so true of society, he is completely mad, bonkers, and controversial, all the while, incredibly talented in a variety of mediums.

What you learnt from the process of Top Arts 2016?
There are a lot of forms… and a lot of work that goes into the exhibition, and to get into it is a great honour and achievement. 

What would you do differently if you were to do your VCE folio again?
I wouldn’t change much – I put my all into the folio, and spent many hours refining it. If anything I wish I could have done more pieces, a larger series.

Have you been working on any creative projects since your work was accepted into Top Arts?
I have done a little bit of painting but nothing more than abstract mind vomit – I need oil paints in my life. At the moment I am working with gouache and water colour, which is great, but I miss oils. They are just so expensive! Other than that, I haven’t really worked on any creative projects – I have chosen to take the year off, and whilst I would love to spend my extra days at home painting, I 1. Can’t afford it, and 2. Will be travelling to Europe for almost half of the year soon, where instead of painting my own works, I will admire the works of others.  

What advice would you give students going into Year 12, in how to prepare for Art or Studio Art?
Do what you love, you have to enjoy your work to excel in it… or at least that’s how it seemed for me. Be prepared to put the time and effort necessary into your folio, art requires patience, things don’t work out the way you want them to first up, but don’t give up because eventually you’ll create what you want to create, and even if you don’t, the result may be just as good. And follow the advice of your teachers, but don’t let it deter you from doing what you want to do, and don’t beat yourself up about negative criticism.

Do you have any reflections on your work from Year 12?
It is strange now, I feel like I completed the work such a long time ago that I am somewhat detached from it, so I can almost view it objectively, and I guess my response to it is still the response I had hoped to create – I fall into those train pieces, my life intertwines with his (the subjects), because essentially that life he is leading, the journey he is taking, I am taking, and I see that so clearly now, and that’s what I wanted to see, and feel, what I wanted every view to see and feel. So I guess you could say that I am really happy with my work from year 12, and ecstatic that I can share that work with others too.

Harriet Renn That is me; Him 2015 St Catherine’s School, Toorak