For over twenty one years, this popular exhibition has presented outstanding work by students who have completed Art or Studio Arts studies in the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE), providing insight into young people’s ideas, thinking and creative practices. StArt Up: Top Arts 2015 will be displayed in NGV Studio, the Gallery’s dynamic contemporary art space at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia at Federation Square and features folios, developmental material and preparatory work as part of the installation. StArt Up: Top Arts 2015 presents the work of our freshest and most inspiring young artists and builds on a well-earned reputation for being one of the liveliest and most visited exhibitions on the NGV calendar.
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Ideas behind the work… I planned to illustrate to the destruction of the environment through the carelessness of humanity’s actions and therefore persuade the viewer about the conservation and sustainability of the environment. More importantly, I planned to persuade my grandfather, who has been the source of inspiration for these images, that the destruction of the environment has led to the destruction of humanity.
Materials and processes… Prior to starting work on these images I created a visualisation sketch which I could refer to throughout the development process. After I made a list of the different stock images that I needed to photograph, which was followed by hours of research to find locations that contained these things, such as oil refineries and derelict buildings. I used Google Street View to see the location so that I would know how they could work in my artworks. I then travelled to each location. These places included Footscray, Morwell, Yallourn, Newport, The Briars, Lang Lang and other sites around the Mornington Peninsula. After I had captured the stock images for the artwork, I then went into the studio and photographed my human subjects. Once all these studio images were taken, I imported them into Photoshop and created clipping masks, adjustment layers and altered the blend mode to create an artwork. I printed the artworks on an inkjet printer at A0 size to emphasise scale in the pieces.
Inspirations… Artists such as Edward Burtynsky and Paula Rosa have been inspirational, due to the concepts behind their works and also the aesthetic qualities presented throughout their images. Furthermore, news and current affairs play an important part in the concepts behind my artwork. I find it interesting how each generation has different perspectives on the same issues. Although I’m a naturally quiet person, through my artworks I am able to create a visual representation of my opinion on a particular issue.
Be Organised! Planning is essential to having a successful folio. At the start of Unit 3, I made tables of each Potential Direction I planned to complete throughout the year, outlining the concepts, materials and techniques. This was helpful to keep me on track throughout the year.
Ideas behind the work… My work explores ideas of perception. I was very interested in the ways various people perceive objects and others in their own specific way. By focusing on this I began to realise that many of our perceptions are in fact falsehoods and many are unable to see the truth behind their ignorance and consider what is actually and truthfully in front of them. Progressively I became more and more interested in still lifes and their ability to express a conceptual idea in the simplest of forms. I wanted to express through my still lifes the reality behind many of our pre-determined perceptions. I placed still lifes of the same image beside each other to create the illusion of a reflection. However instead of the images being identical, the one composition represents reality in contrast to a false perception. The objects in the composition also have significance as only the ephemeral objects decompose leaving objects such as the skull. I did this to show that there is fragility to only some objects. Each object also has its own symbolism however this is meant to be open to the viewer’s interpretation.
Inspiration… I find my inspiration from various artists and visits to art galleries. The different styles of paintings in the galleries have always intrigued me and I love styles such as impressionism and realism. I always like to draw ideas and techniques from the different exhibits which I find very helpful for my own work. I am inspired by the ability of an artwork to communicate a message and change and challenge society. I find this really interesting and wanted to achieve this in my work.
Favourite artist… Although his work is in contrast to my finals, Joseph Mallord William Turner is my favourite artist. I love his huge and dramatic seascapes and the way in which he captures light through the use of subtle yellows. His blend of watercolour and oil paint has inspired some of my experiments. I admire his development of his own unique painting style which has influenced so many other artists across the world.
Challenge yourself and be adventurous. Throughout your years at school you would have developed some great skills and this is the year to really show off and showcase these to your peers and teachers. However just be mindful that you choose a theme and medium that interests you and something you won’t become bored of. I think the key is motivation and having pride and enjoyment in what you’re doing. Have fun and always experiment and explore new techniques with different mediums.
Ideas behind your work… Dodder vine or ‘Hell bind’ (hence the name of artwork) is the material that my sculpture is made entirely from. It is foreign to the environment where I live and feeds off and strangles the trees to death. From the beginning of Unit 3, I was passionate about creating all or part of my final pieces from natural, found materials. I have always had a strong hate for mankind’s destructive impacts on this planet, so I didn’t want to support this by using materials that cause harm to the earth in their manufacturing. Also I wanted to produce something raw and natural. I decided to use this strangle weed vine as I could still create a natural piece of work but also help the environment and my home as I did it.
Creating art work… I found that I became very attached to helping the environment. Tearing the weed from the trees felt rewarding and I felt I was achieving more and more as I made the sculpture. This helped me develop a true love between the artwork and myself.
Favourite artist… My favourite artist is Andy Goldsworthy.I admire the originality, quality and maturity in his artwork. I love his naturalist approach to art and that he travels with the seasons, taking the opportunities the earth provides.
I would tell students undertaking VCE Art and VCE Studio Arts that they should explore a theme from the beginning that they really connect to. They shouldn’t set anything in concrete, they need to flow with their creative journey as this where the best ideas will surface.
Ideas behind the work… This year in Studio Arts I was interested in exploring texture, and in particular expressive textures that generated an emotive response in the viewer, as well as me personally. For this reason my attention was drawn to fresh sprouts, such as those sprouting in the kitchen for use in cooking, as they were full of life yet also had a sense of vulnerability to them, and their life cycles were so fleeting. I wished to capture this in a way that an emotive response would be generated in the viewer, and I wished to create a work that would captivate others, in part due to its intangibility and impermanence. Furthermore, I wanted to link this vulnerability with human emotions, so I decided to create an article of clothing, a basic dress on which the fleeting life of sprouts would be presented. In this way a juxtaposition was created with the intangibility of sprouts and the corporeal nature of the body which one associates with a dress.
Materials and process… I began this work by finding a preborn, light and simple dress which I then cut a hole in the stomach of, which I surrounded by thin wire held in place by stitches. I then sewed cotton wool onto the dress by hand using a needle and thread, the cotton wool being in strips from a “baby cotton wool” roll. Once I had covered the dress in cotton wool, I cut it at the seams and lay it on a wide sheet of cling film on the floor in a sunny place in the house. I then watered it, and evenly sprinkled chia seeds over it, followed by watering again. I then continued to water it until the sprouts grew to the desired length, and then I resewed it at the seams.
Favourite artist … Without a doubt would have to be Louise Bourgeois. I admire her unrestricted desire to create vast things (spider), and how her artworks are so raw and personal and in part nostalgic, at least those made from textiles. Textiles have also been a medium that has interested me and for this reason the works of Louise Bourgeois resonate with me and I’m drawn to exploring similar techniques, such as creating form from textiles.
As hard as it may be, repeatedly remind yourself to not take this year and your subjects too seriously. Try to perceive the entire situation from a distance. It is important to give 100% when you’re working, and to do the best that you can, but it is also important to not burn out and overwork yourself. It may seem during this year that you are losing yourself and losing sight of who you really are as a person but this is all part of the journey and you will come out on the other side grown and with certain experience you’ll keep with you forever. Regarding the VCE Arts, it may also seem like nothing is going your way, and all your ideas are duds and the like, but just stick with it, chill out. The creative process is like a scribble: all over the shop! You’ll make it through feeling better than you ever have before.
Ideas behind the work… My work is focused around the natural human reaction of grief, whether it be in the form of death, rejection or difficult times and situations, my work, The Widower, is more heavily based around how life goes on after death. Throughout the work small evidence of each stage of the seven stages of grief can be seen through the placement and arrangement of certain objects. The two dimensional appearance of the work is to present how the audience cannot comprehend such tormented grief, as this life is seen as non-realistic to the viewer even through it is placed in a common lounge room. The state of the lounge room presents the mind of one who has been placed in a world of grief. Use of second hand objects shows the progression of life, they were once owned by others but now are thrown away. This is much like the ‘acceptance stage’ and there not being a person in the work, as it shows this person has moved on and away from this life, whether through moving on or death.
Challenges… The most difficult thing was gaining a two dimensional look. It took a lot of running back and forth to the perspective point or consistently painting from the placed camera visual to keep ensuring that the work was developing a two dimensional appearance. The large scale of the work meant I had to put in hours of work, usually always outside my class time and after school. The overall work took three weeks to complete around ten hours of work for each week, as I had to complete the work in time for assessment.
Favourite artists… I am inspired by a large range of artists from various genres. My favourite artists are Mark Ryden, Edouard Manet, Marina Abramovic, Ron Mueck and Damien Hirst. This range is also seen in my musical tastes: death metal, 70’s music, zef, progressive, etc. It’s once again seen in my film tastes: from Quentin Tarantino films to ‘Trainspotting’ and ‘Donny Darko’. I’m highly inspired by work that makes the audience think or question as it allows for the artist’s views to be presented and also allows for others to interact and observe these views and values, whether through books, film, art, or music.
Make sure that whatever you do in your art making you do because you love it, base it around your passions – that way the folio work and the classes won’t become a chore, but actual fun in which you’re expressing yourself and also developing and understanding yourself further as a person.
Ideas behind the art… My folio’s theme is ‘South Africa’, inspired by a school trip I was part of in 2013. My works reflect my personal experiences in South Africa, using some of the photographs I took as the basis for each of my drawings. These artworks were not an exercise in just demonstrating skill, but to enable those who view my artworks to see South Africa through a medium that expresses the beauty of the nation. I desired to shatter the notion that economic and social status dictates happiness, and to encapsulate how though some South Africans may have fewer material possessions, their happiness and vitality far exceeds anything I have ever encountered. This is the sole ‘idea’ behind my artworks, not to highlight the poverty that is common in portrayals of South Africa, but to highlight the pride South Africans have for themselves and their country, and their ability to endure in the face of hardship. I hope these works make viewers consider their own situations, and find reasons to celebrate the happiness in their lives, much like the South African people I chanced upon.
Inspiration… I find that the natural environment provides me with the inspiration to create and express myself. Artworks are inspired by the way that being in nature invokes senses and emotions. My trip to South Africa not only evoked a significant sensory experience, but also an emotional experience as well. I found that witnessing the strength of humanity in the face of hardship instilled a hope and desire in me to ensure that others were able to find happiness in their lives as well. Additionally, it was this trip that helped to further my passion for animals, as I encountered animals that to me had only been seen from the other side of the fence at a zoo, and being close to some of nature’s great and wonderful creatures awakened a desire to preserve these creatures in my artworks. Above all, what has inspired me most is the good things that I see in people, and in nature. I find that too often we focus on the negative sides of humanity and forget to portray humanity for what it is – beautiful.
Favourite artist… I don’t have any particular artist who I see as a favourite or as one that I admire the most. To me, the physical evolution of humans, as well as the many organisms that inhabit the earth provide me with enough things to admire. The unique genetic makeup, DNA, that every human and organism has in itself is an ‘artist’. As an artist, DNA evokes various traits and then combines them to form an ‘artwork’, or in this case, an organism. Photo-realism and realism are techniques that directly replicate the real world. So for me, the ‘real’ world, or the nature of our very existence is what I admire and have attempted to express in my artworks. Linda Huber and Chuck Close are artists that I considered during Unit 3 research and their artworks also encouraged and inspired me to follow through with photorealism.
Always ask your teacher for help when you are stuck, because even though you are given weeks to do your folio and finals, time flies and every minute counts. I had trouble drawing the legs in one of my finals, and for two weeks I tried to rearrange and reconfigure them but I couldn’t find the right composition. After consulting my teacher, I decided to move on to my next drawing. There is no point in wasting time on something when you could be doing something much more productive. The better that you know what you want to do for your folio, and consequently your finals, the more efficient and confident you will be throughout the year. This helped me become less stressed, and when it came to handing in my work for submission, I was prepared. VCE Art and Studio Arts are incredibly difficult subjects to do, let alone if you want to do well in them. If you put in the time and effort you will be able to complete with an immense amount of pride and enjoy your time as you do.
Ideas behind the artwork… This work is primarily focussed on the relationship between the physical appearance of an individual with a mental illness and their mental state. Each of the portraits has two sides: the front, which represents the side that the person presents to the world; and the back, which represents their inner psyche, that cannot be observed by anyone but themselves. Each portrait represents an individual with a contrast between their orderly and unremarkable physical appearance and their unstable mentality.
Materials and processes… I had never worked with embroidery before, and initially I was hesitant. It wasn’t until I accidentally came across the overlapping of loose ends and messy knots that were present on the back of one of my first attempts that I realised how accurately it represents the network of an unstable psyche. Once I realised this, I was able to piece together a way of displaying both the physical and non-physical nature of an individual, which was what I originally set out to do. There is no real technique behind my embroidery. I did start off trying to incorporate cross stitching and traditional embroidery stitches, but I found that by doing this I wasn’t achieving the same effect on the back of the pieces. I started off with a rough sketch done in grey lead on some cross stitch material, then used a combination of about 60 colours of embroidery thread to create shading and a somewhat realistic portrayal of my three models. Little attention was paid to the back of the pieces until the very end, as the more uncontrolled they looked, the more they kept to the intended meaning.
Inspiration… For this piece I drew a lot of inspiration from artists such as Lily Mae Martin and Mia Makila who both have based work on themes of mental illness and hysteria. As well as this, a particular book heavily influenced my choice of theme at the beginning of the year: ‘Madness a Memoir’ by Kate Richards. Kate Richards is a doctor who wrote this book based on her own experience with schizophrenia, and is behind a lot of the thoughts that went in to the creation of this piece.
Annotate as you go! Don’t leave annotation until the very end. Not only is it unbelievably stressful, it’s also really helpful in the exploration period to get your thoughts down on paper. I also think it’s important to take risks and try new things. I had never used embroidery before this year and now it’s one of my favourite mediums. Studio Arts will be one of your most challenging subjects in year 12, but also your most rewarding.
Ideas behind the work… My working method was based on spontaneity and experiment, and I drew my inspiration in particular from children’s drawings (those created by my sister), from primitive art forms and from the work of Appel, Corneille and David Larwill. These artists were part of art movements which focused purely on artistic expression, not conforming to traditional understandings of art. I used drawings and paintings from my sister’s youth in a time where mental illness was in no way apparent. These childlike images reference the work of CoBrA artists and work created by those with mental illness. Children’s artwork projects an air of innocence not taking any world issue into consideration but rather focusing on what is around, the environment, and their perfect world. My final works display hidden characters from my sister’s childhood drawings that I have stylized to become part of a whimsical display. Each work presents a fanciful, abstract interpretation of what we see around us as a mentally ill individual may perceive it. I use colour, shape and contrast within my folio to show the ups and downs of particular mental illnesses and the subsequent effects.
Creating… In creating these pieces I became fascinated with mental illness, so I looked into the different areas including anxiety, depression, bipolar and schizophrenia. This helped me to gain a better understand of the kind of issues people can go through, building my awareness of what I wanted to express.This is obviously a sensitive topic as it is close to home, so it has at some stages been hard for me to write about. The work itself however, I have thoroughly enjoyed doing, as I thrive on spontaneous, purely expressive painting.
Favourite artist… is David Larwill, an Australian figurative expressionist. I admire his unique mixture of childlike freshness, simplicity and sophistication. He was part of the Melbourne expressionist group ROAR established in the early 1980’s who aimed to reject the “white walls and champagne” of commercial galleries. They focused on purely creative expression without any true thought behind their work. I love art that is spontaneous with rapidly applied spontaneous paint.
Ideas behind the artwork... The film originates from the idea of exploring nature through the eyes of a child, and providing the audience a window into a child’s own curiosity and imagination. The film also explores the idea of pure beauty, and the ordered chaos of nature – the detailed finery and stunning colours – that make up a masterpiece.
Creating the work… I found the most interesting aspect of filming was the various locations I was able to film at, and the challenge of capturing their beauty in film. The most challenging aspect of the film was to make sure no modern technologies or signs of human civilisation were evident. Initially I intended to film Woolgathering with no other evidence of human life aside from the main character. I found this was impossible, so made the exception of fences and houses. However at the more public locations, it was exceptionally challenging to ensure I had no people or cars in the background.
Favourite filmmaker… is Benjamin Dowie, notably, his short film/music video, Dauðalogn. I especially enjoy watching Dowies’ films as many of the musicians he films for, I enjoy listening to – hence I was interested to see how he adapted their songs into fluent and emotive films.
When selecting a topic or idea, challenge yourself, and step into new and exciting art media. It’s easy to settle for something simple and common, but by attempting a different style, or looking into different mediums and materials your creativity can really begin to emerge. Having said this, try not to attempt ideas beyond your capabilities, and think about how you will balance your time, energy and creativity. Pick an idea that you like, and are interested in, as this tends to be the best foundation on which creativity can flourish.
Ideas behind the work… Focusing specifically on feminist ideas and professional equality, Political Problem explores the double standard exposed in the political arena and its relationship with the media. Each sex is represented using stereotypical colour and font. ‘SUCCESFULLY SENSITIVE’ is written in dominant and ominous capitals and is placed above words representing the feminine, highlighting how male politicians/professionals are perceived when they cry in public. In contrast, the female representation reads ‘emotionally unstable’ in flowing, collapsed letters. This font, for me, conveys a sense of hopelessness. It was crucial for me that these words were piercing and remained in the viewer’s mind. I wanted to question society, and it was the neon medium that could achieve this. The bright light stains the eyes and shoves the message down the throat of viewers. I found this medium very exciting.
Materials and process… The production of neon sculpture is very complex in its craftsmanship and science. Firstly, the design is drawn and transferred onto graphic software to enable large scale printing with a vinyl cutter. Once the dimensions and the font are decided, the design is printed in an inverted fashion as a template to bend the heated 10mm glass tubing onto. Using a straight piece of glass tubing, with some help I measured where it needed to be bent. With a heat pad and a straightening block to apply weight and ensure straight edges, the glass is bent using a hot blowtorch. This is done swiftly as the glass cools fast. Continually, the glass is matched to the drawing/template, to get it impeccably bent. Then using a vacuum pump, the air in the glass tubes is removed and the glass is the subjected to high voltage electricity, heating the electrodes. The separate tubing sections are then pumped with neon and hung to ‘age’ with a transformer. The block out paint is then painted on to make the writing ‘pop’. The piece is fixed to the Perspex (with clips) and the separate sections of glass tubing are wired to make a circuit. The bare wires are covered by silicone end covers, and the cables from the glass sections are wired up to the transformer to complete the circuit. Then…. Switch – LIGHT!
Challenges… The neon process interests me immensely as it is so complex. There are many things I still need to learn as I endeavour to master this medium. Honestly, most of the process, except design and concept, were challenging, mainly because I was thrown into a medium I knew little about and I challenged myself to be involved as much as possible. Working with a professional gave me a clear guideline and start-to-finish capacity. I was involved as much as possible. Bending the glass was perhaps the hardest part – as it is the main aesthetic element, you want it to be perfect. At times, I had to step aside and let Steve, my teacher, bend the glass, as he has decades of experience. Other parts of the process were interesting and somewhat easy to complete: filling the glass with the neon gas and using the vacuum, constructing the Perspex frame and clipping the glass tubing on to it, using the black out paint to make the light stand out and making the piece electrically safe.
Forget about other students, centre yourself and dig inside to find originality and passion for what you are doing. Choose a topic you are passionate about and forget about what anyone else thinks. Don’t strive for good art work, for a good ATAR or to impress people. Strive for an art piece that comes from within, than you will cherish always.
Ideas behind the artwork… The main ideas behind my work arise from my interest in the brute force of nature. I am intrigued by the way the weather can transform a landscape in a matter of seconds. In order to shoot this piece I was waiting for the perfect storm, which I was lucky enough to experience in full force on the water’s edge. I wanted to capture the moments that followed the impressive electrical show, the way in which the changing clouds and setting sun impacted the environment. The combination of grey clouds, dark ocean and contrasting sky lit by the setting sun created an impressive scene, which when captured on camera translated into an emotive, atmospheric piece demonstrating nature’s beauty.
Starting point…The starting point and influence on my work was the storm itself. It was an unbelievable force of nature, something I had never witnessed to that extent before. Having seen the storm in its entirety, from beginning to end, I was able to capture multiple characteristics of the sky. The sullen atmosphere created by the storm inspired me to continue with the images and create something out of them.
Favourite artist... One of my favourite artists is Trent Parke. I admire the innovative way he uses the camera, especially under water, where he goes to such depths that he blurs the line between the sea and the sky; the clouds and waves become interchangeable. I love the strong contrast in his images. The way in which Parke captures movement, light and dark has been an influence to me throughout Year 12.
Pursue a theme that you feel passionate about and that will enable you to create your best work. It makes the long hours worth it, if you are creating something that you are proud of. Don’t be afraid to expand or change your ideas if things don’t go to plan. Be organised in planning your shoots and folio work – staying up to date is a must!
Ideas behind the work… My focus for Year 12 Studio Arts was the poem, Jabberwocky, by Lewis Carroll. I looked at various themes in different artworks for my folio. Self-portrait; Jabberwocky focuses on the values of the father that are imposed on the son in the poem. I’m questioning whether it is ethical for this to happen and whether the values ingrained in me as a child could be questioned in a similar way.
Materials and processes... I used oil paint on canvas to produce the final work. Throughout the year I researched and experimented with under-painting, a technique I had never encountered before. It involves painting the image onto the canvas in monochrome, before adding more depth and colour in layers on top. This made it much easier to produce a lifelike sense of tone and colour. I enjoyed using oil paints as they take a long time to dry, which gave me a chance to make mistakes and fix them before the paint dried and became difficult to work with.
Favourite artist… at the moment is Johannes Vermeer, a 17th century Dutch painter. He created beautiful compositions filled with soft light and colour. His paintings are a glimpse into an era and culture that is portrayed almost photo-realistically at a time before he could have painted from photographs. He has influenced many artists and appropriations and continues to inspire me.
Try and choose a theme that isn’t too broad so you can spend less time thinking about the infinite possibilities that you have and more time making lots of artwork. Find and learn a new skill, independently or with the help of your teacher, such as carving, printmaking or under-painting so that you feel the year has been productive and to have something new to add to your folio for interviews at the end of the year.
Ideas behind the work… What we see through a digital camera after capturing a picture of light is different to what our eyes perceive. We document a split second of its movement from one place to another and it fascinates me seeing something we otherwise would not have seen. In order to capture this concept of light I explored with pendant lights. These lights cast different shaped shadows depending on the angle at which they were captured. The lights and their shadows formed shapes which, when manipulated, created patterns of light.
Inspiration… I am inspired by contemporary works; such as those on design websites, ie. Pinterest and CreativeBloq.com. These websites take any subject matter and create new design ideas and approaches for them. The different approaches applied and techniques used inspire me to think with an open mind when producing my works – how I might take subject matter such as light, that could be interpreted through every day forms and create an image that challenges this simplicity and questions the audience, allowing the works to have multiple interpretations.
Favourite artist… Photographer Darren Rowse plays around with the idea of catching light in motion. He experiments with slow shutter speeds in order to create a blurred, fluorescent beam of light across an image. I am inspired by his precision when capturing these photos, given the importance of timing when capturing images of movement. His thought process before cropping is pivotal in order to emphasise and capture the most important aspects of an image. I used Rowse as an inspiration for my work in terms of this cropping, and placing the important subject matter in the centre of the composition in order to create an emphasis.
I would advise students to start the Unit 3 process with an idea that inspires you – an idea that can take you in many directions and can be explored in different ways. You need to complete a wide variety of initial ideas and development; so it needs to be something that stimulates your creativity. The more ideas that you are able to complete, the greater range of ideas you have to choose from and explore in Unit 4.
Ideas behind the artwork… My conceptual idea for Studio Arts was to focus on ‘Time’ and how through time nothing stays the same and everything is continually changing. I began by focusing on people and places and objects that slowly changed and compared them to people and other things that changed quickly, for example ice-cream melting – to people ageing. I then moved onto copper and food that both deteriorate and change at various rates through time – as my finals were a comparison of how different materials decay and change through time.
Starting point… I began by focussing on people and ageing and how people’s physical appearance changes and then went onto the element of copper and food that further helped me to develop further into Unit 4. I was influenced in the early stages of Unit 3 by Jeff Wall, whose aesthetically pleasing images that captured different lives of people and places interested me. Food was a topic that I explored in Unit 4, focusing intently on specific fruits.
Favourite artist… I do like Ben Quilty. Although he doesn’t take photographs his paintings are so lively and express so much movement. The way he layers his paint on the canvas has parallels to life for me. Life is continually changing and therefore we continue to layer feeling, people and experiences onto our selves. What you begin with is never what you end with, it is always more not less. That is what I like about Quilty’s work: how expressive and colourful it is.
Stay motivated and passionate about what you want to accomplish. You should always have an achievable goal you want to reach in the end, with smaller goals along the way. That way you can accomplish a lot, rather than just having a single goal at the end. Stay organised. Continually writing in your folio and staying on track with your timeline is important.
Ideas behind the artwork… The main ideas behind my body of work are those of personal and cultural identity, memory and the passing of time. Memories are fragmented; we often remember our experiences as a collection of small, vivid details. These details I’ve tried to explore through materials, forms and textures. Pencil drawing was always my starting point from which grew multi layered assemblages. The inclusion of found objects and the use of old, worn materials to construct my pieces is a way of creating a mood of nostalgia or melancholy through providing visual links to the past. They force the viewer to reflect on how everything becomes weathered by time, and how human lives and experiences are fleeting. They are also remnants which aim to express personal, cultural and religious heritage.
Materials and processes… In all my works, I built the composition around a central drawing. The reason I chose to draw in grey lead pencil, is because this is a medium which I knew I would be able to use to create a realistic tonal and textural range. I chose grey lead pencil over colour pencil because it is reminiscent of the old photographs that the image comes from. This enhances the mood I was trying to create of nostalgia for people and times gone by. For the structure of my pieces I have used aged and weathered woods and scrap materials. Again this aims to evoke a sense of the passing of time and create feelings of wistfulness or melancholy. I used found objects for a similar purpose. They provide a real, physical link to another time, or to a person or memory thus creating a nostalgic effect. Found objects also allow viewers to derive their own meaning from the work, as they can relate such universal symbols to their own lives and heritages.
Inspiration… I am inspired by artists, musicians, filmmakers and writers who are able to evoke powerful emotions in their audience. I find the works of artists such as Bill Henson, Kathryn Ryan, Edward Hopper, Mark Rothko, Rosalie Gascoigne and Joseph Cornell amazing in the way in which they are able to evoke strong feelings of loneliness, melancholy, wistfulness, unease and tranquillity through the use of light, colour, form, shape, texture and symbolism. It is this ability to evoke such powerful feelings in the viewer that I have tried to emulate in my work. Similarly I find musicians and writers who create the same effect through sound and words equally as inspiring. The power of words in particular; sung, read and spoken, is something I have always found inspiring and I have always loved art that combines the visual with the written. Art, film, music and writing that is able to tap into cultural heritage is also something that I find inspiring, especially those who are able to do this indirectly, or through exploring their own personal identities.
My main advice would be to remain organised and try your best to work consistently. Even if you do not have time to do your folio as regularly as you would like, make sure you at least keep a record of the way you have done things and document through photographs. Keep pushing yourself to find new ways to explore your ideas but play to your strengths in what medium you choose. Make sure you pick a theme that you are passionate about because this will give you the motivation to work to the best of your ability. It will also allow you to make art that you will be proud of, and that others will enjoy. When exploring themes relating to yourself, make sure you extend your thinking to consider how an audience will view your work, and think about the effect you want to have. This will help you develop further ideas and explore them in a broader, outward sense.
Ideas behind the artwork…The concept of the work is that the effects of consumerism on an international and local scale and the degrading of the environment stem from society’s actions, which created this chain of events – from the decisions made by the government to the consumer desires that result in the destruction of the environment and cause the endangerment of animals.
Inspirations… My inspirations are the artworks displayed in galleries where I can clearly see the construction and detail of the work. You can gain a sense of the intended effect due to the size or the area in which it is situated. I visited many galleries throughout the year to keep my folio up to date and to be further inspired by recent works. These galleries consisted of MONA, The Sydney Biennale and The Art Gallery of New South Wales and the Heide Museum of Modern Art, where there was a vast selection of contemporary art from local and renowned artists that were national and international. I could gain a larger insight into the diversity of art and how cultural aspects were woven into the works and concepts.
Favourite artist…Fiona Hall is my all time favourite artist. She is an Australian artist and her dedication and passion for art is evident through the work she has produced and is still producing. Hall continues to alter processes and manipulates objects that are transformed into materials. Each material she uses has a connection to her concepts of politics, the environment, consumerism, the third world countries, the extinction of animals, war and how they affect and relate to each other. Her materials such as recycled and found objects like aluminium cans, money, wire, board game pieces, clothing and beads (just to name a few) emphasise Hall’s quest to reduce society’s carbon footprint and protect the degrading environment. These works are biodegradable or have not put the environment at risk, with the materials sourced and not purchased.
My advice to students undertaking VCE Art would be to keep up with your folio pages and stick to the dates of your folio reviews. Otherwise, it is a lot more work and stress upon yourself, along with keeping up to date with your other subjects and studying for upcoming SACS. I recommend to record the date a couple of days before the actual review date as you aim to complete the required pages well before and can avoid incomplete areas in your folio. With the concept or the intended effect of your work and folio, make sure it is something that you are passionate and driven about. This will reflect in the standard of and your dedication to your work: also doing the work won’t be a chore or a requirement, but something that you enjoy and will have the motivation to put in the extra hours.
Ideas behind the artwork… The initial idea behind the paintings was to create an artwork that evoked loneliness. The final artwork itself mutated visually and conceptually, so that the end product caused a vast range of emotions. As well as exploring technique and application of paint Untitled #1109211 and Untitiled #1109212 were an attempt at testing my possible artistic aesthetic. In the end, the paintings were nothing like I had imagined, they weren’t my style. I loathed the lack of technique, but my audience seemed to love them in a way that I could not. The final artworks displayed my personal defeat, but to others – a triumph depicted through colour and contrast.
Materials and processes… I used a 10oz canvas, stretched it onto roughly 3cm thick frames, which I made using a mitre joint. To create the smooth black surface for the imagery, I applied 3-4 layers of black gesso to then sand down slightly. The positive and negative imagery in cohesion with the contrasting polychromatic colour choices caused even transparent tones to appear vibrant on the canvas. The use of phthalo blue and zinc white were significant in the under layers and created a neutral surface to apply mid yellows and magenta. After 1 month of drying I applied an overall coat of Liquol around 3 times and finished off the painting with a varnish. I wasn’t too worried about the long term well being of the painting and didn’t use a touch up varnish.
The starting point… The influences were really heavily based upon my own artistic aspirations. I headed into Units 3 and 4 Studio Arts wanting to further explore the medium of painting and the traditional subject of portraiture. I studied skin at a close range, admired undertones of warm cadmium reds and viridian greens, causing me to enhance and saturate my subject matter, similar to Bill Henson’s photography, but also using opaque colours in my palette to further define the contrast between the subject and the implied frame.
Creative subjects might take everything out of you, physically and emotionally. They may drain you but will give you an artistic escape from the stress of year 12.
When you look at the folios or artworks in Top Arts, don’t get stressed over the amount of work you have ahead of you, trust me, the creative process will come naturally and each day you spend on your art practice is a step towards an amazing final artwork.
About the artwork… I was drawn to the idea of technology’s role in modern society, as its evolution is seemingly constant. The series Un-natural Habitats came from a realisation that technology is removing tactile elements of life. I wanted to depict the way in which people view nature through technology yet seem to never experience it first hand. Through Facebook and Instagram pages people are able to view rich and diverse natural environments in the form of photographs, as we become more immersed in technology we become less immersed in nature. I wanted to represent this disjointed relationship between humans, technology and nature.
Starting point… I wanted to look into something that was socially relevant for myself. Being a teenager, technology and social media platforms have a major impact on my life so it was something that I wanted to portray a perspective on. I looked at a great deal of installation artists such as Ai Wei Wei, as well as photographers such as Thomas Jackson. I was drawn to the way these artists created impact through juxtaposition or displacement of subject matter and wanted to achieve a similar effect. With this in mind I decided that the juxtaposition that I wanted to bring to light was between humans and their immersion into technology against the natural environment. It was from this point that I began to stream my ideas in a direction and had a clear understanding of the ideas I wanted to convey.
Favourite artist… I don’t think I have a single favourite artist. There are lots of photographers that inspire me for their own individual perspectives and styles, such as Steve McCurry, Chris Burkard, Thomas Jackson and Heather Evans Smith, along with many others. Recently I have been into the work of Shepard Fairey. His large scale street murals and stencil work not only look amazing due to the scale and minimalistic yet solid colour palletes but also convey ideas about social awareness and reawakening a sense of wonder about our place within society. It’s hard to have a favourite artist when there are so many people producing interesting and incredible work, I find I explore the work of different artists for different purpose and with each artist admire different aspects of their work.
Find something you are passionate about or you love doing and follow that. The best work you do is the work you enjoy. Even though sometimes you’ll get frustrated or feel like you aren’t progressing, if you feel strongly about the work, it will turn out. As well as this, in your exploration of ideas and your experimentation of materials and techniques you can never do enough, so continually explore and experiment.
Ideas behind the artwork… My body of work is based around the concept of depicting emotions through portraiture. For Unit 3 I focused on showing emotions through facial expression and use of colour. For Unit 4 I focused on creating portraits of people who spark emotion within myself.
Creating the work… I found watercolour paints to be rather difficult to use and it was certainly a real learning experience for me as I am comfortably a pencil artist and not a painter. However, after some exploration and experimentation with the new medium I found which techniques and styles worked best for me. What I found most interesting was watching the time-lapse videos after they had been fully edited and finalised. It was a real eye-opener to watch myself work and see in fast motion how the drawing comes to life.
Favourite artist… is Heather Rooney. Her drawings are hyper realistic and highly detailed. I aspire achieving a similar style in my own work.
My advice to students undertaking VCE Art and VCE Studio Arts is to choose a topic that you feel very passionate about and never leave things until the last minute. You can’t rush art; it takes a lot of time and patience.
Ideas behind the artwork… My work intends to create a comparison between unique human personas, attempting to demonstrate how an individual can manipulate the appearance of their body to expose their various human traits. It demonstrates how although we are all unique individuals in society, many of our human characteristics overlap to exhibit our similarities. This concept, as well as the notion that genetic material impacts upon one’s identity, is expressed within my finished artwork.
Starting point… I began by brainstorming a range of themes and ideas for my work, before recognising that the human body and scientific concepts captured my interest. I then looked at a number of artists recognised for their portraiture work and depiction of the human face – Chuck Close and Julian Clavijo inspired my interest in pixelation.
Favourite artist… Vincent Fantauzzo – I love his hyperrealist approach to portraiture. Whilst I also love abstract art, his talent is one that continues to inspire me.
Never underestimate your abilities – you never know what you may achieve!
Ideas behind the artwork… Through the portrayal of common objects I attempt to express how everyday objects are taken for granted. While these objects are commonly perceived as mundane they are essential to everyday life. Underlying beauty lies in the fact that these common objects are simple and have the ability to be used in numerous ways, unveiling the misconceived depth of ordinary items.
Materials and processes… I used numerous materials such as clay, plaster, Pinkysil and plastic resin. I also incorporated elements of coffee and plantation. To recreate objects I made moulds from either clay or Pinkysil. The clay moulds consisted of two chunks of clay that needed to be pressed together in order to surround the shape of the object being used. Only certain materials were able to be casted using the clay moulds – either liquid clay, which was then kiln fired and also plaster. In casting, the moulds needed to be sealed using more clay to surround the seam line of the mould and the two parts firmly held together using industrial tape. In order to create moulds using Pinkysil, the objects being moulded needed to be glued down to a flat removable base. This way the opening of the mould would be created. The object needed to have walls surrounding it, or be glued down in a container so the Pinkysil would not leak. The Pinkysil mixture consists of two different substances that needed to be mixed together, done at a completely even ratio to ensure the silicon would set. For this mould I casted with plastic resin.
Favourite artist… is Mikala Dwyer, she is a Melbourne artist who mainly does installation works. I admire her because her work is always aesthetically appealing however always contains important messages about things such as the environment. Her work has the power to influence people and make them think and consider how they go about living everyday life; she is also able to cleverly incorporate different mediums into her work, making it stand out.
Always be open to experimentation and working with different mediums because you never know when you might come across something you really enjoy doing. Explore and expand your knowledge about different materials. Make sure you branch out with your ideas and listen to others’ opinions about your work, however make sure you do whatever it is that you like best.
Ideas behind the artwork… The story in Greek mythology of Persephone was very symbolic to my theme of ‘‘lure and choice’. I wanted to use the expressive potential of the legend to explore the sense of great and historical tragedy. Under this theme, temptation and deception as a pair, which lead many people down a path of destruction, were expressed by the appearance and meaning of the painting. In the painting, the pomegranate’s vibrant red hue is not dissimilar to the colour of blood – a rich, indulgent red that is as tempting as it is deceptive, creating an alluring and attractive façade, and also symbolising a sense of evil and danger. It is a painting depicting the dangers and repercussions of unchecked desire, and an exploration of how humans have an innate tendency to be distracted from their course of action and goals in life, and be blindly led down a path towards peril.
Take art as a serious subject. Try as hard as you can and never leave your folio work to last minute.
Ideas behind the artwork… Carnage explores ideas related to how humans acquire and assert power through animals. The dress, a symbol of power, inspired by the clothing of royalty, being constructed from the remains of the deceased animals, suggests that human power is gained through acquiring it from animals.
Materials and processes… I used a variety of animal based material, including feathers, shells, fur, bones and skulls. There was a long process of sourcing, gathering and preparing these materials that included cleaning, plucking and skinning. The fur and wings were gathered from found road kill.
Favourite artist… The exhibition We are all Flesh, by Berlinde De Bruyckere, that triggered huge emotional responses in its audience began my interest in the relationships between man and beast. I admire her boldness and willingness to challenge and push grotesque notions often seen as taboo.
Continue to seek inspiration throughout the year and don’t be afraid to alter your beliefs and ideas.
Start everything long before you need to, EVERYTHING TAKES LONGER THAN YOU THINK!
Ideas behind the artwork… This piece is meant to represent the re-writing of history; how we, as humans, must become more attuned and connected to nature to avoid the total destruction of nature and the world as we know it. The patterns reflect the inter-connectedness with Mother Earth and all living things we must embrace.
Starting point… Previously I had only applied fine liner patterns to paper. However, this year I was influenced to experiment with different materials and surfaces. Through development I applied pattern to glass windows, bottles, bark and stones. For the final I chose to use bark as I liked how the bark I found had taken on a unique, curled shape and easily allowed for me to apply the chalk pen patterns.
Favourite artist… My favourite artist would have to be SWOON, an acclaimed street artist. I love how she uses found objects to create her artwork- including wooden doors, scrap wood and rubbish. I also admire her intricate and detailed paste-ups and paper-cuts!
Relax! Have fun! Work hard….yet with ease!
Ideas behind the artwork… As the theme of my folio is ‘Cogs of the Mind’, I was looking at what goes on in our subconscious mind, by asking questions such as: What makes us who we are? Can we define our identity? Why do we choose what we choose? My work is based around the idea of choice, as our identity is a process which is continually changing and shaped by the choices we make. I asked myself what major choices I have to make at the moment as a Year 12 student. I then realised, just like all other Year 12 students, I was about to make one of the most important and life changing choices; my career choice. In my work I explore the journey I went through to decide on my career choice, which links to my earlier question ‘why do we choose what we choose?’ I looked at how I was feeling about this career choice, what was influencing my choice and how will my identity change after my choice.
Inspirations… I was very inspired and influenced by artist such as Godwin Bradbeer, Rene Magritte, Alberto Giacometti, Rembrandt and Michael Willers. Throughout the year I visited many exhibitions at different galleries, I particularly liked the paintings chosen by Julia De Ville in the taxidermy room at Melbourne Now and seeing the techniques used by the old masters at the Italian Masters exhibition. I am inspired by artworks that use symbolism to form a narrative, such as many of the paintings by Frida Kahlo. I am also inspired by deep philosophical questions that mess with your mind and make you question reality – I really love that sense of wonder and sense of uncertainty.
I also love the way that music can cause so many different emotions within someone; music can empower, calm you and even make you move. I always listen to music when I paint and I want my artworks to have that ability to make people feel something.
Favourite artist… I really like Godwin Bradbeer’s metaphysical portraits. I love the expressive brushwork in Ben Quilty’s portraits. I admire controlled looseness in Alberto Giacometti’s line work to create the form of the face. I enjoy the symbolism within Magritte’s and Frida Kahlo’s work. I love the realism in Matt R. Martin’s ‘bodies’. I am inspired by the technical skill of the old masters such as Vermeer and Rembrandt. I also love Michael Willers’ work. He is my father and I have always been surrounded by his paintings.
Just enjoy yourself and let things happen. If you don’t enjoy the artworks that you are creating then what’s the point of creating them. Be prepared to spend a lot of time on your folio, and don’t stress too much over it. It is evident if a student has stressed over their folio as it shows within it. Make sure you have some kind of time management structure throughout the year, especially during the production of your finals. This will remove a lot of stress and make it easier for you to know what you should be doing.
Ideas behind the work… While Recursion is still about speed it is more about exploring the fractal. This is a mathematical phenomenon that naturally occurs, in which at every scale, no matter if at nanometres or kilometres, the shape would be the same. I have related this to speed with the implication that the viewer would be moving into and through the shape, due to its large scale and incredible detail. While moving through the fractal the surroundings would not change, but stay the same, a truly unique representation of speed.
Materials and processes… Recursion was quite simple in terms of materials, all that was required was a program called Mandelbulber OpenCL which is a program that allows the manipulation of fractal sets in 3D space. It allows every aspect of the fractal to be modified. I had chosen the quanternion due to its aesthetics as mathematical notation for representing rotation, or because it is many circles. I thought this fit best as a circle has fluidity and neither a beginning or end. Once I had played around with the settings and found a fractal combination that I deemed decent, I chose the colours and rendered out the final image. The final steps were to finalise the image for printing in Illustrator by placing a border around the edge and orientating it the correct way. The printing was done a HP designjet printer onto canvas, which was stretched onto a custom frame.
Inspirations…. I always feel very inspired by the world around me. My work always seems to reflect even the smallest detail of the environment. Living in Melbourne we live in quite a contemporary culture. New buildings pop up what seems like every day, all with sharp contemporary designs. One of my favourite places in Melbourne is Anna Schwartz gallery. John Nixon’s work was being exhibited the first time I visited and his work is what got me interested in the style of art. This led me to Joanie Lemercier, a French artist whose work simply resonates with me, his work has heavily influenced my work. There are certain aspects of my work that come from not only artists and the environment but also from music; the clean, sophisticated, simplicity of liquid drum and bass has not only influenced my work but also my personality.
While all of what I have said has a large impact on me and my work, I think what really drove me down the path that I am on is my love for the aesthetics of mathematical geometry and its relation to science.
When creating art, look deep down inside your own psyche and find something that is unique, something that you can call your own and once you find this, explore every possibility of it, use every material you can, apply it in every way you can. Art is an exploration of the human psyche and every day you are at the edge of unknown.You won’t thrive with exploring previously explored places and topics, find something new and find something you.
Ideas behind the work… My work was based on my passion for architecture and the ability to create a display of abstract images derived from different angles and viewpoints of buildings. Photographs which captured certain areas of objects were an inspiration for my pieces as I focused on capturing small details of buildings, and enhancing them to recreate an overall abstract design. I was inspired by other photographers to capture different and unique buildings which incorporated geometric shapes and patterns which could be presented as an abstract pattern.
Favourite artist… An Australian photographer named John Gollings inspired me as he focused on capturing buildings from different perspectives. He focused on using different times of the day to enhance certain areas of a building while also using different effects in Photoshop to enhance colour contrast. He inspired me with his ability to display buildings in unique and intricate ways to reveal a variety of view points and perspectives.
Influences… I started with an interest in architecture and in photography. I decided to combine them to create a folio piece. I then researched the idea and found inspiration from other photographers who incorporated architecture viewed in a different perspective. I was also influenced by the structures and development in Melbourne and was intrigued by the different buildings and architecture.
My only advice would be is to find a theme or idea that constantly inspires you. This will be your motivation throughout the course and will be your source of success within the subject. Having an inspiring theme will create a different thought process in your mind and you will capable of achieving all of your creative ideas. Don’t be afraid to take risks and explore options because anything is possible.
Ideas behind the work… (For me) this year has been a focus on creativity and not having any physical or artistic limitations. Aleatoricism, meaning the incorporation of chance into the process of creation, is the perfect concept to describe my process. Basically I went through a myriad of relatively innovative experiments and trials, often questioning the element of ‘control’, and thus completely challenging my working process. It really has been pretty amazing how many ideas have ‘come’ to me, especially in the last few months of working. For ‘Little scabs’ I really focused on the element of chance, and to what extent the appearance of chance may be influenced by control. A focus on colour, movement, texture and the materiality of the work was important. As well as the subjective interpretation of the viewer, there was also an intense focus on colour, how it informs and shapes the aesthetic especially in terms of form and texture. I aimed to create an art object that could be considered pleasantly aesthetical, with an abstract awareness and hope the artworks communicate as something heightened, chimerical, active, as Plato called pictures: “Dreams for those who are awake.” The title is also based on a series of dreams I had this year.
Challenges… I loved experimenting with the difficult types of paints and all the potential that came with it. The viscosity of the paint influenced the outcome a lot, for example, the industrial gold enamel was extremely viscous. Whenever it met other colours it swam underneath and intertwined with them and created an entirely different texture and effect. It was quite tricky to manage, but very beautiful when I managed to. In the end I used the artist’s enamels, and the textures and clarity created by them was very beautiful. The transparency of the surface was important because it allowed these paint textures to be viewed from different perspectives, which wasn’t something I’d done before, and thus I had to consider both sides when painting.
Favourite artist…I couldn’t pick a single favourite! I’m inspired by many artists including Minna Gilligan, Dale Frank, Jackson Pollock, Jack Hardwicke, Angela Brennan, Leif Podhajsky, Noël Skrzypczak, Oscar Yanez and more. These artists have a strong focus on colour, technique and mainly use abstraction. They all treat art as a way to make something that’s untranslatable in everyday life ~ to create images as a separate. Frank’s amazing varnish creations have an insane sense of depth, Hardwicke’s photographs have an ability to create an otherworldliness- a dream like quality, and Yanez’s paintings so beautifully explore the relationship between the organic and the geometric. I also adore more figurative artists such as Gustav Klimt, Kathryn Del Barton, Jess Johnson and Egon Schiele.
Make art that you want to make. Take on the advice of others and your teachers but ultimately be passionate and genuinely interested in whatever you’re making. The endless nights of folio and the time spent making artworks is so much better this way, and the results will invariably be better.
Behind the artwork… My work is about the physical and mental consequences of negative body image, brought on by the media, peers or ourselves. In my works, the models appear to suffocate themselves, which shows how the pressure comes from within us – there is no way we should look. Generally, my work critiques the social expectations, prejudices, discontent and consequences of the way people are portrayed in the media, making people want to strive for perfection or become irked with their own bodies, even though they are healthy and normal. My work figuratively, (and literally with the transparency of the plastic) exposes the truth behind artificial beauty – struggling, suffocating, unhealthy, withering people.
Inspiration… Seeing other artists’ work inspires me and also makes me envious – like I really want to make what they just made, but I can never replicate it, nor make something original myself on par with them. I struggle with finding my own style, which is something that I really want to explore in the years to come – inspiring myself.
I am inspired by my environment, seeing nature or smelling things that bring memories – experiencing life. I have an eye for detail – a need to capture a small moment.
Reading also inspires me in the sense that I want to visualise the characters that I read, draw them and give them the life I see in my head.
Favourite artists… Someone that really intrigues me is Ron Mueck and his hyper-realist sculptures. His attention to detail is obvious, but I like subtler things like the meaning of the size in his works and the significance of the feelings they create. The method in which he goes about creating the works is also interesting. I love hyper-realism, as it is very rewarding to compare the work to the original to see how well you’ve done.
I really love the artist Leonid Afremov whose signature style uses very broad, blotchy brushstrokes and really bright colours. It amazes me how he is able to incorporate small details into his brush work which makes the painting almost seem to shimmer. The way he uses colour is also fascinating. Often they are quite contrasting, yet he makes them work together. The reflections in his works add to the shimmering quality, even though the same colours are being used and it is reflecting what is seen above, it seems to open the painting. I love it because though I don’t attain meaning from his works, I find them immensely visually pleasing, more so than anything else I’ve ever seen.
Ideas behind the work… My aim was to explore the concept of individuality, capturing the unique qualities of a person. I have a deep fascination with the human figure in general and planned to use family and friends as my subject matter. I wanted to work with low key lighting while taking my photos as I wanted to create strong contrast with subjects that highlighted their physique.
Inspiration… Bill Henson was one of the artists that inspired my works. Diane Arbus is another source of inspiration and one of my favourite artists. She is noted for her photography of ‘deviant and marginal people’. I find her work appealing as she is able to capture the raw truth of a person’s individuality.
As I am also a Media student, I have a deep and endless love for film. I gather my own ideas and concepts from particular films that influence my photos. I love to visit galleries, both local and interstate to explore the boundless number of incredible artworks that also impact and influence my own works.
Influences… I have always had a passion for photography. I wanted to photograph my family and capture our amazing strength. Gathering my own personal knowledge of my Aboriginal ancestry, I integrated traditional customs such as symbolic paint symbols to explore the concept of cultural identity. Using a close family friend as the subject within the photos, who was able to dance her own traditional tribal dance, I was able to capture her unique movements.
My advice to students undertaking VCE Studio Arts would be to pick a medium and theme that you enjoy and love. I would also advise that you plan how you are going to tackle the SATS and finish pieces of work. By creating a structured plan to follow, you allow yourself to work towards a deadline with a level head and hardly any stress.
Ideas behind the artwork… My intention was to create a series of surrealist works that focus on expressing my intellectual identity on canvas. This prompted me to create a series of self-portraits with various animal motifs to represent different aspects of my personality and thought. For me, the quality and technique of each piece was almost more important than the meanings and messages of the work. As such, I focussed on refining my style and achieving complex detail. More than anything, I wanted to create art that people could aesthetically enjoy and admire. Despite strongly focusing on creating beauty, the visual link between motif and model in each portrait portrays a unique connection to the natural world. I also wanted to create my own mini series of works that resonates together as a whole through
their contrasting motifs, colour, focus and their complementary repetition of style and concept.
Starting point… In the beginning, your folio is similar to a suitcase with yourself packing everything you like and admire to take with you on your artistic journey. Ultimately, you end up with all of these photos of artwork you admire, favourite sketches and images of personal images, and your suitcase is overflowing with ideas and inspiration. Then, when you’re almost overwhelmed with options, you began to pair different styles, techniques, and images together creating a stream of concepts that lead to a final piece. Ultimately, art is a form of self expression and you’ll be surprised to what you use to express your identity. For me, this was my Lithuanian heritage, which despite being ever-present in an unpronounceable last name, always remained distant. However, when given the opportunity to express my artistic identity in Year 12 Art it suddenly became vital to express that element of my identity in my work and strengthen that connection to my grandparent’s culture. In that sense, not only did my identity influence my artwork but my artwork actually changed my own perception of who I am.
Favourite artist… My whole folio was fuelled by the inspiration and appreciation of the works of Kahlo, Magritte, Klimt, Botticelli, Dali, Plotnikova, and Eisenstaedt. Despite it being a challenge to pick one favourite, I cannot deny my strong personal admiration for Gustav Klimt’s work. During my exploration of the painting medium, I completed a small reproduction of the famous work, Three Ages of a Women. Through the first hand experience of attempting to replicate Klimt’s skill and technique, you gain an intimate appreciation of his work; almost like stepping in the artist’s own shoes. Unlike a photo, my small attempt echoes Klimt’s emotion and beauty with the texture of paint bringing it to life and causing me to fall in love with his technique. Through this exercise I not only gained a whole new appreciation for his work, but he also helped me to discover and develop my own skill and technique. In many ways, Klimt helped me to grow as an artist
and I wish I could thank him for his teachings in person; it would be like meeting an absolute rock star. I also hope that one day I’ll be able to appreciate his work in person, with photographs offering a small indication, the experience is sure to be magical.
It’s important to understand that talent is not a ‘God given gift’, but the result of hours of work and dedication. For the folio to become a success it requires persistence and determination. You need to be focused from the moment you sign up for the subject. By the end, I clearly felt there must of been weeks of my life that had been totally absorbed by my folio and there was little doubt that I had put every effort in. At the end of Year 12, it’s important to consider whether you would rather relish in the success of the final product, admiring its detail and complexity or be stuck wondering if there was still more you could have done.
Ultimately, it’s up to you. I have never regretted a single day of the hard work that I put into my folio. Although this talk of hard work might sound intimidating, working on my folio gave me lots of fulfilment and pride. There was such great enjoyment in unleashing my artistic passion and being completely absorbed in my artwork that even the much stated stress of Year 12 disappeared. Basically, even though you need to work hard, this is more than compensated by the satisfaction you can find in your work. It’s not exactly work, it’s a passion.
About the artwork...Through my work I explored the theme of the Flâneur which is a French concept of people watching. Through research I discovered that to be a flâneur is to go on a journey and follow whatever captures your eye; to wander the streets without a destination in mind and to watch how people interact with the environment around them. I created a city that reflected my journey as a flâneur, and the front and back views of a flâneur as she watches the city. Within the structures of the city there are hidden faces which also reflect the idea that it is the people that make the city come to life and bring energy to the otherwise dull and static buildings. Furthermore, due to the fact that I was representing my own personal journey, I decided to embody myself within the work.
My starting point… was my photography and an interest in people watching when I caught the bus or tram to school in the morning. I began to take pictures of any person that captured my interest throughout the day, and eventually I amalgamated these pictures in order to create a personalised city that reflected the people and places that had crossed my path on my journey as a flâneur. In terms of technique, this work was influenced by my experiments with line throughout Unit 3 when I was looking at artists such as Mike Parr and Alberto Giacometti.
Inspirations… In this particular work, my main sources of inspiration were Mike Parr, Jeanette Barnes, and Ginny Grayson. All of them create black and white drawings in expressionistic styles which I found enticing to look at. I was drawn in by their unique styles of line which they use to not only create shapes, but also mood and emotion. I liked how the works seem so simplistic at first glance, but as you look further into the works, you notice all of the detailed and delicate lines that have all been placed with a purpose; not as randomly as they may initially appear.
Choose a theme that really captures your interest; something that you will look forward to researching and discovering more about.
Ideas behind the work… An underlying theme throughout my body of artworks has been the concept of trying to push the boundaries of recontextualisation. I aimed to continually explore the transformation of pencil or ink drawings into drastically different pieces. This relates to my initial interest in the mosaic of torn posters adorning the derelict laneways of inner city Melbourne. Individually, each poster has its own identity and style, however when unified as part of a whole, they are transformed into a new identify, often far from their initial meaning.
Moreover, I wanted to visually capture my interpretation of the human lifespan. In the beginning of our lives we share many similar, predictable experiences, such as physical developments, learning to walk, going to school, starting work and beginning relationships. However as we mature and grow older, our identities diversify and we develop a truer clarity of self. I tried to celebrate and recreate this journey visually through the use of mandalas, with birth represented at the centre point, and the mandala growing outwards, becoming less rigid and predictable and less circular. The outer border of the mandala can be seen to represent finality.
Another theme was to create art which would elicit an individual experience for the viewer. For example, many of my artworks are dramatically different depending on the proximity from which they are viewed, due to the incredible detail when seen up close, and the bold forms when seen from afar. Furthermore, inspired by Rorschach’s ink blot test and cloudwatching, the viewers can interpret the often ambiguous patterns to find their own images, narratives and meanings
Favourite artist…Before Year 12 Studio Arts my artwork consisted almost exclusively of graffiti letter forms. Rone is an internationally acclaimed Melbourne artist. His work originated from skate park stencils and derelict laneway paintings and paste ups. He transitioned from street art and graffiti to sell out fine art exhibitions around the globe. Witnessing such a movement from graffiti to gallery style art had a pivotal impact on my own transition. I was honoured to be involved in the Melbourne Festival Art Trams project alongside Rone, as he has had such an influence on me.
Future plans… Art has become a rhythm of life for me. I want to continue to explore many different styles of art, and push boundaries. I am captivated by the point of convergence between cohesive hand created fine art and ground breaking innovative technologies. I see enormous potential for exploration and opportunity in pursuing this.
Start forming ideas early. Try and see all aspects of the world through the lens of an artist, and try to laterally connect events, images and functions from all aspects of life to draw inspiration. I drew an enormous amount of inspiration like this with only a small amount being from art.
Do not limit yourself to only one medium, process or technique. For each artwork you create, it is important to consider how it is in some way different from anything else in the world. Even if this simply means changing a small aspect or context. Otherwise, what is the point?
Ideas behind the artwork… My work, Self-Portrait (Rubik’s Cube), focuses predominantly around family. The mosaic portrait combines the Rubik’s Cube with my preferred realistic drawing style to create a large representation of me as a child; the time I first remember tampering with the seemingly impossible puzzle. I remember always playing with the Rubik’s Cube that my mum had as a child, and from then I have owned several variations of the mind-boggling puzzle. Self-Portrait (Rubik’s Cubes) highlights the patience and skills I have developed throughout years of playing with Rubik’s Cubes.
Materials and processes… I used a rather non-traditional material; Rubik’s Cubes. I twisted them into the correct position, as opposed to peeling the stickers and re-sticking them, as that would have taken more time and caused more headaches. After twisting them all into position, I had to mount them onto Masonite using liquid nails to ensure a strong grip. When I realised that the Masonite was not going to support the 50+ kilograms of Rubik’s Cubes, I needed to add an additional MDF slab to hold it all together. Finally, I bordered it with pine skirting in order to keep it all tight and avoid the possibility of the whole thing collapsing and 24 hours of work being for nothing. All in all, as mentioned before, it was a 24 hour ordeal across around 8 days and was well worth the headaches it caused in the end.
Favourite artist… Ron Mueck is one of my favourite artists, as he has pushed the boundary of human sculptures through his hyper-realistic portrayal of the human form. His daring sizes are also what inspire me to think about just how large I can go with my work; however it will never be as large as his. The somewhat confronting and eye-catching nature of his work is what I wanted to achieve with my work, and I believe that was successful with Self-Portrait (Rubik’s Cubes).
Don’t be afraid to give anything a go, and make sure you stay on top of the workload. Having undertaken three folios throughout VCE whilst breaking my hand in the middle of 2014, proves that you need to keep up with the work as you do not know what will happen. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for feedback or a starting point if you’re stuck for ideas. You can ask either family or peers and they may set you on a track you never thought of initially. Finally, don’t forget to enjoy it, as it’s a fairly easy subject if you’re devoted to it and put in the time and effort; results should be the least of your concerns when creating an artwork that truly represents you.
Ideas behind the artwork… Essentially my aim was to bring new life to old objects. In my sculpture, Ex libris, I used old books which I sourced from op shops, my own home, and those that were given to me by friends and family. Throughout my design process I worked with a huge range of pre-used objects, but I settled on books as I was drawn to the colours and textures of their covers and the aged brown colour of the pages. I became interested in the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi, which is the celebration of beauty in imperfection, and I felt that books epitomised this concept really well. I wanted to make my art pieces unique and personal and I achieved this by incorporating maps. After completing some research I located topographical maps of my local area. I transferred the maps onto the books and carved contours into the covers and pages. The idea behind this was to create a representation of my environment by using pre-loved objects (books) which have their own story and history. Using the maps helped me to create book carvings which not only looked effective, but also had a personal and meaningful connection to both me and my family.
Inspiration… I like the idea of creating aesthetically pleasing artworks out of pre-used objects. Recycling items and breathing new life into them inspires me, as I think this is a responsible way to create art. It has the capacity to reduce waste and make us consider the creative potential of items considered to be ‘junk’. Artists such as Nicholas Jones and Todd McLellan have inspired me, as they use similar materials in their art. Jones is particularly inspiring, as books are central to his practice and he reinvents them in many ways – he folds, cuts, stitches and carves to create amazing art pieces. It was an enormous thrill for me to have Nicholas Jones comment and Ben Quilty ‘like’ my artworks on our school Instagram. Given my huge respect for both Jones and Quilty I felt honoured and definitely inspired. Visiting galleries and exhibitions inspires my creativity, helps me develop ideas, allows me to see other peoples’ art and appreciate the potential of different materials and techniques. I am fortunate to have the Bendigo Art Gallery within an hour of where I live and I enjoy seeing what they have on display. I feel lucky to have a regional gallery of such high quality close by.
Starting point… Originally my ideas were guided by the pre-used items I was able to collect. I soon found that some of my most successful trials used books as the central object. I refined my ideas and completed further research as I began to play around with the potential of books. I started by folding pages, which led to cutting the pages to create a series of patterns and lines. I enjoyed cutting into the books and my ideas soon began to focus more and more on this technique. At this point the work of Nicholas Jones was recommended to me and I was further inspired and influenced by the methods that he used to transform books into unique artworks. I was keen to brainstorm and develop ideas which could bring a deeper and more personal level of meaning to my artwork and it was at this point that I researched topographical maps and completed further trials around their use. I experimented with several tools for cutting the book pages including medical scalpels, Stanley knives, ceramic tipped blades and craft knives and these trials enabled me to find the most effective method and equipment.
I think the best piece of advice that I can give a Studio Arts student is to tell them that consistency is definitely the key to success. You need to work hard right from the start. You should complete your annotations and any work to be done in your sketch book as you go, don’t put it off otherwise it easily becomes overwhelming. If you want to do your best it is not possible that all the work can be completed in class. You must expect to put in many, many hours after school each week. You need to have a clear idea of what you need to achieve during class time and plan ahead so that you can maximise your time. When it comes to creating your final piece don’t be afraid to start, just get in there and get it started! The sooner you can commence your folio the better – that way you have time to overcome any challenges or problems that may arise. If you put yourself under too much pressure things are sure to go wrong and you will not have time to fix the situation.
Ideas behind the artwork… This artwork explores the idea of movement in multiple dimensions. As a whole, it outlines the simplicity of film and the illusion of the moving image.
Starting point… I began with Futurism, drawing largely on artists such as Luigi Russolo and Carlo Carra. I feel that the influence of Russolo never left me, with his use of transport as subject and lines and shapes creating movement. I eventually found Dadaism, which became my next biggest influence, especially Marcel Duchamp. I named my artwork, Velo Cinema, in homage to Duchamp’s Anemic Cinema.
Creating the artwork… What I found very interesting was the number of new processes and techniques I discovered in creating this artwork. From it, I learnt basic electric wiring, filming with a slide film camera and how to use various tools. A real challenge was balancing the performance of the projection with the aesthetic appeal of the artwork. There were many considerations and limitations due to the nature of the project, however I feel I successfully managed to overcome all hurdles and produced a fairly intriguing artwork.
Take a relaxed approach to your first folio. Every artwork shouldn’t have to be the most amazing thing you’ve ever done, just make sure to try different things while looking for new ideas and inspiration.
Ideas behind the work… The main idea behind my two pieces was to create a set of artworks which granted the viewer a completely new way of observing the sport of Formula One. Through my artwork I attempted to highlight the beauty and grace present in a sport often dismissed as aggressive and heart stopping recreation. Although these connotations are to a large extent true, what people often fail to observe is the subtle delicacies and fine elegance which the sport possesses at almost every given moment, when time is stagnant or frozen. Taking arguably the most violent and brutal area of the sport, its racing incidents, I aimed to confront viewers with a range of contrasting emotions, creating a mental divide. Initially viewing my pieces the audience is made to feel emotions of shock and concern for the drivers. The pieces then evoke emotions of elegance and peacefulness through the soft and selective illustration of the events. The audience is made to disregard the aftermath or unfolding of the racing incidents and appreciate its current state of frozen allure.
Starting point… My initial inspiration for this piece was to create an artwork which allowed the audience to view something seen as aggressive or violent and completely transform that connotation. Selecting the sport of Formula One as the subject matter was an easy decision as it is my passion. For me this sport is a lifestyle. The opportunity to bring to light its hidden beauty and often over looked elegance is something that I am grateful for. Changing people’s perceptions of the world around us is what inspires me. I began my piece with the simple notion of changing how the audience viewed the sport of Formula One, and uncovering its breathtaking elegance even within its most violent and traumatic moments. I attempted to create a piece which showed a muted chaos whilst highlighting the frozen beauty of this world sport.
Favourite artist…The artist who in particular inspires me and my art work is Spanish biro artist Juan Francisco Casas. Casas inspired me to utilise the medium of pen, as his breathtaking ability to create photorealistic biro drawings bewildered me. To me Casas’ art aims to capture moments of raw excitement, lust and enjoyment, remaining pure and suspended in time forever. Casas has captured individuals at an exact moment of emotional purity creating not only an image which portrays a laughing women or enthusiastic man but evokes memories or a night enjoyed and new experiences made. This type of art speaks to me as these illustrations of emotion will never change, they will not dim with time, they will eternally represent the excitement felt in that frozen moment.
Studio Arts is a journey that has the ability to transform not only your art but yourself in exceptional ways if you allow it to. Many students go into their year knowing what type of artwork they wish to produce, which medium they wish to accomplish and the type of effect they wish to have on people. This style of thinking and resistance will damage your development and conceptual thinking as an artist. The ability to change and follow your concepts where they take you will not only grant you greater academic success in the subjects of Art and Studio Arts but it will also see a larger level of self-fulfilment. Your pieces will be richer in conceptual value and as a result you will find your passion for the arts grow and develop.
Ideas behind the work… The focus of my work was an investigation into the surfaces of nature. I explored natural patterns and textures, which achieved a combination of fragility, delicacy and subtle complexity. These surfaces were expressed through beautifully controlled pottery forms. I created a harmonious balance between the surface qualities and the contours of the ceramics. My work unites functionality and beauty, creating pieces that maintain a sense of purpose and usability. I threw a set of seven tight-footed and swollen-bodied cups, each with an individually fluctuating rim suggestive of sea shells. These delicate forms have been combined with the indentations of chattering marks to capture a rhythmic sense of the uniqueness and the beauty of nature. The resonating pool of pale blue glaze coating the interior of each cup is suggestive of the purity of the ocean.
The process… What I continue to find interesting about ceramics is the multi-faceted stages of production, where you balance materials, chemistry, aesthetics, functionality and fire. The breadth of variability with ceramics is both challenging and exciting as there is no certainty to a final outcome. The opening of a firing brings a moment of elation or immense disappointment. This desire for anticipation is something that entices me to create more. One ongoing challenge is the potential for improvement and increased efficiency, whether that is repeat throwing, glazing or the firing process.
Favourite artists... I am deeply inspired by Australian potters such as Kevin Boyd, Arnaud Barraud and Gwyn Hanssen Pigott; British potter Phil Rogers and Korean Potter Kim Seong-Tae. It’s not so much one singular style of ceramics, more so the works ability to generate a feeling or a sense of intrigue that gives me the urge to get back on the wheel.
Art is a vehicle for expression. It is an opportunity for you to remain true to yourself. Choose a theme that connects with you. I would recommend following your passions and your interests, welcoming any challenges, embracing the path that art takes you on. Set high, attainable goals and be organised. I would continuously review, check and assess each week’s progress always being aware of deadlines, planning ahead for the weeks to come. My advice would be to maintain an open mind utilising others’ opinions and looking beyond your theme for artistic influences and techniques. Don’t be afraid to try new things and fail at first. Utilise these failures and mistakes, grasping this new knowledge and understanding. Increase your pool of knowledge and this will filter through your ideas and the complexity of your work. Read through the Study Design and assessment criteria, work towards ticking marks off with each component you add to your folio. Keep your annotations concise and the layout of your folio clear and ordered, letting the ideas and concepts be openly interpreted. Art should be something you treasure and value. Most importantly enjoy the year.
Ideas behind the artwork… Dullahan was written to be a piece for young people to relate to. It’s a story about the trials and tribulations of growing up with a simple and undoubtedly familiar message: you shouldn’t pretend to be something you’re not, because there are always people who will love you for who you are. Ultimately, this is a story that explores the human desire to fit in and be accepted. In a way, it’s my own story, and the story of many of my friends and peers. Though a person rejected by their peers for their identity, and a fictional headless creature desperate to find a friend may be worlds apart, their experience is fundamentally the same: a struggle towards the end goal of love and acceptance. Dullahan has a relatively broad scope in terms of the kinds of discrimination and rejection it deals with, but I had originally intended the headless horseman’s experience to mirror the stigma faced by mentally ill individuals – hence the heavy symbolic importance of the head (and the horseman’s lack of one). Despite this, I’ve also attempted to open up the story for other possible interpretations (eg. discrimination on the basis of race, gender identity, sexuality).
Creating the artwork… The time required to produce Dullahan was easily the most challenging part of creating the work. Due to the amount of content in the piece – 17 full-colour pages, all of which I illustrated and wrote myself – the production of the piece took approximately 90 hours altogether, not including the countless hours of editing, revising, researching, designing, and planning. I often found myself losing interest in the work, but I had to constantly remind myself of the time and effort I had devoted to it! As I worked, I found myself becoming even more deeply connected to the story I had written. I formed a strong attachment to the titular protagonist in Dullahan – he’s now very dear to me, which is strange, as I assumed I would be sick of him after having drawn him so many times! This passion for the work and for the character I had created is what allowed me to overcome the setbacks that accompany long periods of work – tiredness, loss of interest, and feelings of frustration and futility. Many times I believed that I’d aimed too high and would never finish Dullahan, but to my delight, I’ve now proved myself wrong!
Inspiration… I’m mostly inspired by artists – specifically illustrators and animators – with highly distinctive styles. Jamie Hewlett (who created the Gorillaz along with Damon Albarn), Gary Baseman (of Cranium and Teacher’s Pet), Pendleton Ward, Natasha Allegri, and Jen ‘Ghostmeat’ are all personal favourites. I’m also a fan and member of the online gallery and store RedBubble, who are constantly showcasing new and innovative work from a wide variety of artists. Essentially, if it’s stock-standard work that doesn’t bring anything interestingly odd or quirky to the table, it very rarely piques my interest. I’m inspired by work that is dynamic and unique, which also relates to my love of musicians that experiment with a variety of genres and sounds. I love work that is progressive – there’s no need for history to repeat itself in creativity, unless it’s being recycled and repurposed, of course! There is so much new artistic territory to explore, and I draw inspiration from the creators that dare to do things differently.
Start a personal sketchbook or creative journal (if you haven’t already), and get into the habit of bringing it with you everywhere. It’s very difficult to pull inspiration out of thin air, but that’s not a problem: there is strange and wonderful world outside your door that has inspired many artists before you! However, it’s not much use if you allow the inspiration you draw from your everyday journeys to be forgotten (the human brain is frustrating like that). I raise you the aforementioned journal: if you get all of your ideas down when they strike, you can refer back to them whenever you find yourself at a loss for inspiration. This might seem painfully obvious, but it’s something that I often find myself being too lazy to do – much to my frustration when I’m sitting at my desk later without any creative drive. Even if you’re sure your idea isn’t worth getting down on paper, jot it down anyway – it won’t hurt! Though taking notes on a phone might work for some, for me, a journal/sketchbook feels a lot more ‘natural’ and allows you to add visuals and annotations to flesh out ideas whilst they’re fresh in your mind.
Ideas behind the artwork… My artworks stemmed from a combination of ideas that I wished to express in a form that was personal to me, beginning with my admiration of dolls of all sorts, and relating this to how beautiful females are- like living, breathing, flawless dolls themselves. As a child I always found dolls to be filled with magical, angelic beauty. Nowadays, dolls are available in various shapes, sizes and colours and my aim was to capture the common essence they all possess- beauty. From their big, enlarged, sparkling eyes, their petite proportions, porcelain smooth skin and pretty, adorable clothing, I wished to explore how real people too can be ‘beautiful dolls’ in ‘real life’. My idea grew with my desire to capture the spirit of childhood within those who wish to be forever ‘young at heart’ and refuse to grow up to fit the conventional rules expected of young ladies entering adulthood. My experience as someone who does not quite dress as a typical female teenager gave me the idea to present this in a form of art, in order to allow those in a similar situation to stay true to themselves and refuse to let others control their unique looks.
Starting point… At the beginning of the year, I had a strong passion for dolls of all kinds – porcelain dolls, puppet dolls, and fashion dolls particularly. I found great interest in their flawless details, smooth skin, captivating eyes and frivolous attire. Their seemingly perfect characteristics sparked my curiosity as to whether I could capture the beauty of femininity and transform it further to create perfect, flawless doll-like figures, which became the overall influence within my artworks. Along with this, my interest in dolls also stemmed from an intrigue for the dreamy, innocent and childlike qualities that we possess as children. I found great influence in the imagination and merriness of a young mind, and how their perspective differs from that of a grown adult. This inspired me to take on this perspective when initially beginning my artwork. Along with this, my interest in fashion, specifically the substyles of Harajuku fashion in Japan, gave me a great starting point as to how I could present my initial ideas. I admired the relationship between Lolita Fashion, dolls, and childlike qualities, which allowed me to find a beginning point for how to approach my ideas to turn them into artworks that would successfully represent my intentions.
Favourite artist… One individual artist whom I find has given me a great insight is Madoka Kinoshita – an illustrator who was born and continues to live in Osaka. Her goals were to mimic childhood in her works. Although she is an illustrator and not a photographer, her pieces of work feature doll-like girls with big, beautiful eyes, flawless skin, uplifting smiles and vibrant, upbeat colours – everything I aspired to capture in my work and more. Madoka Kinoshita’s art is very precise and methodical, and I share the same need for attaining perfection in my work too. At the age of 34, she is a good representation of how age can not deter someone from fulfilling childhood aspirations through expression. Her works evoke the beauty of girls and draw out their features in colourful and creative ways.
My advice to VCE Art and Studio Art students would be, most importantly, to stay focused, remain passionate and be consistently hard-working. I would recommend choosing a topic that not only interests you, but also explores your unique qualities; your passion will surely shine through! Present your individual flair through your folio and artwork, as your audience will not only appreciate the art you create, but also the insight they get into you as an artist. Don’t let anybody tell you your ideas are not interesting or good enough – if something means a lot to you and feels right, don’t let them get in the way of following it, as it could be the start of something special. Explore your ideas to their boundaries, and then beyond those boundaries altogether – visit places you didn’t think to visit, and keep your mind open wherever you go! Inspiration is often found in the place you least expect it. Most of all, trial EVERYTHING! Nothing is too ridiculous to try if you work it to your advantage and learn from it. The world of art is a wonderful adventure and your passion will truly gleam.
Ideas behind the work… I have attempted to create a series of artworks that capture the quality of dreamscapes and memories in all their technicolor strangeness. This arose from the idea of unconscious drawing and the question, ‘Where does the imagery in an automatic drawing come from?’ I kept a record of dreams I had for a few weeks and noticed that similar imagery appeared in my automatic scribbles. In the end I managed to link much of this imagery to memories I had of childhood, games, television shows, books, people, places events and emotions. The final works were intended to present a surreal dreamscape constructed from symbolic memories and subconscious imagery. I also managed to make the concept sound far more pretentious than anticipated, which is always a bonus.
Materials and techniques….Certainly the process of creating lino prints is a painstaking one. Where in most cases I had only to move a pen, pencil or brush across a surface to create an image, with lino cutting it was a slow and at times painful (I have a scar or two from runaway cutting tools as proof) process from inspiration to artwork. When so many hours with neck bent and cutting tool in hand go into creating a lino print, your hope is that the printing process is easier and that it’ll be all up hill from there. This wasn’t the case for me, I must have gone through half a tree in the pursuit of an acceptable print. But it is an extremely rewarding medium to work with all the more for the effort it requires. There is a spectacular moment when you peel a sheet of paper from the printing press for the first time to see what your efforts have amounted to. By the same token it’s also incredibly disappointing if the print turns out rubbish after all that.
Favourite artist… Probably one of my earliest and fondest inspirations would be Shaun Tan. I must have been through his graphic novel, The Arrival, hundreds of times during primary school. His surrealism-come-suburban style has an incredibly Australian and therefore immediately relatable feel to it, something I unknowingly appreciated as a child. His work also possesses the rare feature of spanning ages to be equally interesting to me now as it was when I first discovered it – in many new and different ways. Salvadore Dali, Pablo Picasso and Van Gogh are three masters to whom I also owe much for inspiring my interest in art.
I think, as with any creative endeavour, you’ve got to love it on some level. Cliched I know, but true from my experiences. The commitment required to see a folio through approximately a year of development necessitates that one get some level of enjoyment from it. It’s definitely easy to enjoy just as a contrast to most other subjects. (I’d encourage students to treat it as therapeutic – being able to throw paint around after three periods of Maths and English is worth a lot) The two most helpful pieces of advice I could have received prior to undertaking VCE Studio Arts are: to stay on top of your folio work and use your teacher for support, they are there to help. My wonderful teacher Mihaela Brysha attempted to drill the former into us, which validated the latter.
Ideas behind the work…Most of my works had been a compilation of line, pattern and colour and people would ask me what exactly I was depicting. As a result, I decided to do some research and found the psychological Rorschach test. In the 1960’s, psychologists would examine a person’s personality and emotional functioning by their perception of the ink blots depicted in the test. I wanted to create an artwork that challenged the viewer, and resulted in a different interpretation for each viewer. I was focused on the beauty of nature in art, so I viewed my artwork as reflecting the flow and growth of nature as the ink moved across the canvas. Others have seen a skeleton, pollution a cave, etcetera, so the viewers are able to create their own interpretations and conjure up their own political and social commentary. The red and gold areas draw the viewer’s eye, like in the Rorschach test, to move around the canvas to create holistic interpretation.
Materials and processes… My artwork has been made through the mixed mediums of ink, acrylic paint and gold leaf material on canvas. After painting an undercoat and sanding it down, I prepared several water pots dyed with black ink and sporadically poured them onto the canvas. By lifting the canvas up at different angles, the ink and water moved around and eventually sunk into the canvas. I allowed this to dry and then subsequently did the same thing again, to create a layered effect. I then used brushes to begin painting on the black patterns. There were areas that I wanted to cover with black paint. To ensure that I created an asymmetrical balance, I cut out black paper and trialled them in different areas. The red was painted onto the canvas when it was dry and the gold leaf put on last. I had to put the glue on the canvas and wait until it had dried and become tacky before I could apply the gold leaf.
Challenges… I found being spontaneous and free with my work was the most challenging yet the most rewarding. I allowed my inhibitions to disappear to create an open, loose abstract piece of art. This was difficult as I am quite a perfectionist, and allowing the ink to meander loosely on the canvas was almost scary. However, having done this, I have discovered the beauty in unstructured and free painting.
I would advise students to absolutely throw themselves into VCE Art and take risks. Although you may feel vulnerable and scared at first, the final product is much more interesting and exciting than if you remain in your comfort zone. Stay back at the art room, spend all weekend and lunchtimes producing your folio and your final works as you will feel so proud of yourself and your efforts when you lay out all your work when the marking day comes. I would also suggest going to art galleries and looking at websites to find inspiration, as you can always find something that prompts a new idea. I would also suggest that they allow their peers to critique their work, as they will finish with a greater and more intriguing final product if they do so. Most of all, enjoy it!
Tyler Alsop – Lewis, Covenant College
Alexandrea Arnel, Loreto Mandeville Hall Toorak
Ruby Bannerman, St Leonard’s College
Isobel Barnes, The University High School
Rachel Beck, Shelford Girls’ Grammar
Christopher Berogna, Xavier College
Jessica Berthelsen – Murray, Wonthaggi Secondary College
Georgia Blood, The Geelong College
Andre Bruzzese, Catholic Regional College Sydenham
Stephanie Cartledge, Ballarat Grammar School
Sophie Clausen, Loreto Mandeville Hall Toorak
Jessica Congiusta, Somerville Secondary College
Lauren Cowie, Edinburgh College
Christian Dawson, Edinburgh College
Liam Denny, Box Hill Senior Secondary College
Kayla Desjardins, St Francis Xavier College
Andy Du, Kew High School
Isabella Edwards, PCW Windsor
Cameron Elliot, Charlton College
Louella Exton, Melbourne Girls’ College
Maria Julianne Fetalvero, Catholic Regional College Sydenham
Victoria Grech, St Columba’s College
Sarah Hartnell, Trafalgar High School
Xavier Healy, Ouyen P-12 College
Natasha Hills, St Francis Xavier College
Jemma Hogan, Tallangatta Secondary College
Yaskia Yan Yi Hung, Firbank Grammar
Jake Hunwick, Surf Coast Secondary College
Jacqueline Hutton, Our Lady of Sion College
Taylor Hutton, Wantirna College
Emily Kalaitzidis, Cheltenham Secondary College
Stephanie Klimovski, Loyola College
Emma Krieg, Ballarat and Clarendon College
Samuel La Marca, Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School
Holly Langdon, The Peninsula School
Sigrid Lange, PCW Windsor
Mimi Le Deux, Geelong Grammar School
Lachlan Leith, Brauer College
Elyse Lewthwaite, Princes Hill Secondary College
Naomi Manuel, Glen Waverley Secondary College
Abbie Hope McLoughlan, Cohuna Secondary College
Isobel McVilly, Sacred Heart College Geelong
Paige Moisis, Upwey High School
Kirsten Mowat, Leongatha Secondary College
Cristina Napoleone, Swinburne Senior Secondary College
Milly Nurrish, Mornington Secondary College
Rebecca Palomares, St Columba’s College
Bridget Petry, Frankston High School
Mona Kitty Quilty, Princes Hill Secondary College
Karen Ayn Quintal – Franssen, Wonthaggi Secondary College
Stirling Rank, Macleod College
Dylan Rosenzweig, Mount Scopus Memorial College
Eura Roh, The Mac.Robertson Girls’ High School
Jessica Scerri, Haileybury College
Hayley Scott, Mount St. Joseph Girls’ College
Alexandra Sinclair, Caulfield Grammar School
Ryan Stewart, Melbourne High School
Madeleine Stubbs, Camberwell High School
Jack Tamblyn, Swinburne Senior Secondary College
Samuel Thomas, Bendigo Senior Secondary College
Kea Tokley – Higgs, Emerald Secondary College
Mashara Wachjudy, Mornington Secondary College
Louisa Weichmann, Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School
Brigitte Yoseski, Westbourne Grammar School
Yi Zhang, Presbyterian Ladies’ College