VU Connect 14

I went to the Opening Night of VU Connect 14, in Footscray Mall, 138 Nicholson st , Footscray, last night. Its a new gallery space, offices, co op bookshop, shopfront and coffee shop for Victoria University. The award is a biennial, and last night was its inaugural one.



Graduating, studying, and past and present students, were asked to submit works to exhibit and compete for two prizes. Six honourable mentions were made to other exhibitors. The prizes, were for $1000 and $500 respectively and were won by students, in the Creative industries Course, at Victoria University. The major prize winner was an impassioned painting, of outback Australia, a mountain range, executed in thick impasto paint, and even included the artists paint brushes. The other prizewinner was a more delicate watercolour, with a photo image transposed over the top. Both were worthy prize winners as were the honourable mentions.


The indefatigable curator was Peter Burke, who did an excellent job of hanging works with the assistance of local, emerging artist, Sarah Hayes. Megan Culhane, graduating VU student is exhibiting two lino cut prints, as am I.


Go along and have a look, see what others are doing, and what VU are up to in the West.

Blogs I follow

As a student at Victoria University, studying a Visual Arts Diploma, we read fellow students blog posts.


Culhane, Megan – mjculhane
Daly, Quinn – art-school-dropkick
Day, Kara – sillygillian
Gommers, Kate – cultural-inspiration
Heaton, Sarah – sarahjaneheaton
Jovel, Amanda – gothicaya
Loukas, Andrew – youinterpretit
Pompei, Ebony – facelesswolf
Posavec, Sarah – eroticsloth
Reid, Alexandra – alexreidart
Rezaie, Zakir – zacrezaie
Ritzert, Yvonne – yvonneritzert
Rovacsek, Georgia – georgiarovacsek
Shingles, Sophie – i-didnt-kill-yoko-ono
Stringa, Shai – shaistringa
Sullivan, Elizabeth – libbiesullivan
Thwin, John – thwinblog

Makes for interesting reading. Its a great way to view the past, and current work of the students, and to find out what inspires them. I have made comments on some of the blog posts.

The blogs are innovatively designed, are visually stunning, with matching soundtracks and imagery. It is a great way to keep in touch with fellow students.



My time at Victoria University, studying the Visual Arts Diploma 2014, is drawing to a close. The studios are swept, work is displayed, and final submissions are being pulled together. Tomorrow is the Final Assessment Day, other assessments having already taken place last week. Relief washes over most, as the door is closed on a years work. A period of nervousness will ensue, indecision being the lot of most visual artists

no limit
no limit

Hope is writ large as we scramble to secure one of the Fiona Myer Travel, or folio awards. It is with some sadness I will bid farewell to my fellow classmates. Much of their work is exemplary, and I expect their imagery will stay with me through the years. I hope to see their trajectory rise, all of these “bright stars”. I will retain my fond memories of them as VU collaborators, and thank them all, they have taught me much.

Printmaking Sweatbox

The day had arrived, we were to submit our final printmaking folio. Despite many instructions and warnings, last minute printing was still to be done, under the close scrutiny of our class mates, also anxious to use the printing presses. We scarpered from the Context and Culture Class, without a backward glance or word of apology to our teacher, as we raced toward the print room, to grasp our elusive final submission.


Work benches were cluttered, students clustered around any remaining, scant work space, and the queue for the printing presses peaked at six workers in tandem, churning the lino-cut relief prints out. Prints were spread over table tops, in  drying racks, between drying boards and across benches. Exclamations of surprise, or groans of anguish accompanied each print as it rolled off the presses. The maker was either thrilled with the result, or in the deepest of despair with the outcome. The back of the room saw students curled over visual diaries pasting and writing, fulfilling the brief fastidiously.


The submission deadline grew steadily closer, with notes being scribbled frantically, prints collated, and half dry prints being wrenched from their repository. One of our number needed assistance, and we all banded together and collated his many prints. To no avail, as he confided later he forgot to submit his visual diary. Grr! Safely stowing our work, we exited the print-room gleefully, stumbling towards our homes or studios in a post production daze of exhaustion. A job well done we are now at the mercy of the assessors. Its now time to concentrate on our final folio submissions, for painting and drawing.


Last week and weekend I attended a two day symposium entitled ” Pathways ” . It was run by the VCA&MCM , supported by Arts Victoria , held at Southbank NGV , and VCA.

fringe book
fringe book
pathways vca
pathways vca

It was two days of talks , presentations , and workshops designed to help arts practitioners find a sustainable , economically viable  career , in the creative fields of their choice . Many talks and presentations were given by visual artists , dancers , musicians , lyricists and music producers , filmmakers , illustrators , painters , sculptors , scriptwriters , actors and playwrights . Whilst the presentation style , and field of expertise , of the speakers varied they all had several underlying themes to their talk .

An artist has to work long and hard at their craft and it requires a sustained , day in day out work ethic . You need to exhibit , display , audition , and somehow be seen in your artistic endeavours . Networking , and self promotion are essential tools for the modern day practitioner , and effective grant writing plays a big part in the sourcing of funds , to make your practice viable . Diversifying into other fields is necessary , so you have to work across a variety of disciplines , not necessarily those of your specific interest , or addressing and complimenting your training .

Skill , talent , rigorous work and training aside , there is also an element of luck involved , ie : of being in the right place at the right time , when an opportunity arises and knowing how to seize it .

The good news is you can hope to earn $13,000 a year from all this , if you’re lucky . The general average yearly income is perceived to be much lower than this .

Artists are driven , passionate and intuitive mark makers . It is not a profession chosen for wealth , prestige , or success . Usually the profession chooses us and for those in its thrall , its a lonely , indescribable process of struggle , but one we usually can’t ignore .