Interview with StArt Up: Top Arts 2016 artist Jack Grayson

Jack Grayson
Journey’s end 2015

What has the highlight been of Top Arts 2016?
I have been so humbled by this entire experience. Top Arts is something you go into year 12 dreaming about. I know that at the start of last year it was an absolute fantasy to me that I would be accepted into this exhibition, and the fact that I have is completely unbelievable. I can’t express enough gratitude for my place in this show, so my favourite part of my Top Arts experience has simply been receiving the message that I had been accepted. It just blew my mind.

Do you plan to pursue a career in creative industries?
I most certainly do. I plan to take up an offer to study animation at RMIT University in 2017. There are so many industries that I would love to try my hand at, but the major 2 are as a comic book artist, and as an animator or concept artist for things like cartoons, movies or video games.

Who are your favourite artists at the moment?
I have so many it can get quite hard to keep track. I am such a huge fan of so many artists in the comic book and cartoon industry, just a few being Todd Nauck, Jim Lee, J. Scott Campbell and Sean Galloway. I am a massive fan of a lot of photographers as well, who take pictures that capture nature in absolutely stunning scenes. I am also a massive admirer of my art teacher and mentor Jill Shalless, who introduced me to pastels as a medium and has taught me just about everything I know about how to use them. She has such a solid knowledge of techniques and such a beautiful style, and she creates amazing pieces.

What you learnt from the process of Top Arts 2016?
I have learnt from Top Arts that you can never dream too big. I didn’t expect to get into the show, but I applied anyway with the hope that the stars would align just the right way for me. Nothing is impossible if you put your mind to it.

What would you do differently if you were to do your VCE folio again?
My biggest thing would be to time manage better and not to waste time on topics and with mediums that didn’t really interest me. I spent quite a bit of time exploring watercolours, only to drop this idea as I didn’t get the results or style I was looking for, and I dint find a lot of enjoyment in working with them. So I would ensure that I nail down the medium I loved working with earlier on so that I could focus on refining my style and skills sooner in the year and perhaps produce better quality works.

Have you been working on any creative projects since your work was accepted into Top Arts?
I most certainly have. I’m very busy at the moment working on a few different bits and pieces. I’m in the process of producing and independent animated cartoon, a comic book, and a number of pastel works. My cartoons and comic are all self-written and developed as well, so they’re keeping me very busy!

What advice would you give students going into Year 12, in how to prepare for Art or Studio Art?
I would simply say know what you love and follow that. If you can go into your portfolio with a clear idea of what your theme is, what ideas you plan to explore, and the mediums you plan to work and experiment with, then it will be a lot easier and more enjoyable for you to create works and a folio that you are genuinely proud of a the end of the year.

Do you have any reflections on your work from Year 12?
I look back on my work from year 12 with extreme pride. I managed to develop my ideas in a way that addressed the issues and ideas I wanted to in a way that I was happy with. The standard of my work was honestly something that surprised me. The level of detail I was able to achieve and the likeness I was able to create were incredibly satisfying to me, and I am incredibly proud of the work I ended up with at the end of the year.

Jack Grayson Journey’s end 2015 Christian College Geelong, Waurn Ponds