Remembering Top Arts 1994

‘I’ve exhibited at the NGV!’

Something that as an 18 year old, I can say I was thrilled to be able to achieve. An amazing experience to share with family and friends, and a shot of confidence that I was indeed travelling in the right direction in my chosen field.

I was very fortunate that Top Arts was in its inaugural year when completing VCE. Here was a new and exciting forum, to acknowledge creative achievement, and to gain exposure to the contemporary ideas of one’s peers.

Ideas outside the confines of your own particular class or school.

20 years ago, Arts or Visual Communication perhaps was not as broadly recognised as a career path at secondary level, but the backing and support of teachers, and major institutions like the NGV and local government, was and is, a major factor in encouraging emerging talent and legitimising those truly committed to working in these fields. I am happy to see this award still remains, 20 years on.

I had chosen Photography as my passion and career at an early age. Post VCE you are challenged with turning your love for a creative process into a commercial reality. I immediately went on to complete a BA in Photography at RMIT. Post RMIT, I went to work as a full time assistant with some of the countries great photographers. I started shooting professionally in 2003 and have had the pleasure of working with numerous Australian & International brands. Participating in several group exhibitions across the journey, I exhibited my first solo exhibition in 2013.

The format of Top Arts has of course been refined and improved since that inaugural year. The prestige within the community has also gained momentum. In 1994 we exhibited primarily to a private function for participants, families and guests. I keep up to date with the exhibition each year, and these days, the exposure to the public and introduction of emerging names to a large-scale audience, is monumental and more important than ever.

Contributing for this 20 Year anniversary and looking at my own work from VCE, (though amusingly looking very technically raw to me now), you realise there is no better time to express your experience of the world, through your art. Your concepts are clear & untarnished, without perhaps some of the parameters placed upon you, to make a commercial reality of your art. Top Arts is one of the first and most prestigious avenues to expose these ideas to a broader local audience and beyond.

Images from: “The Hum of Industry” 2013