Students learn about the art process and study the work of other artists using the analytical frameworks. They consider message and meaning, personal and cultural influences and contemporary issues as well as issues and viewpoints.
Students build a folio that explores ideas and experiments with materials and techniques. They continue to develop their concept throughout the body of work refining their use of chosen materials and techniques to produce resolved final works.
Brush tip markers on paper
The intention of my final piece is to show different feelings and emotions circulating around this one person and the overwhelming feelings of stress and sadness this causes. I created this using colourful brush tip markers. The use of the colourful figures explore the way in which we react to overwhelming feelings, by sometimes letting them consume us and take over our minds. The different colours and patterns represent different feelings and emotions this person feels. The line work and colour create a movement that helps to interpret my theme of emotions and mental health by showing the ups and downs and differing patterns.
‘Wall of My Mind’
Gouche, colourfix, oilstick, collage on repurposed blind
Through my folio I wanted to explore human emotions and behaviours. I have always been an observer of people and notice the small mannerisms and gestures that can give an insight into people’s personality.
But you can’t just see the dots you need to connect them to fully understand a person’s life experience. What we see on face value doesn’t tell the whole story.
I liken it to the Japanese story based on the three faces of self, where people show one face to the world, another they share with people they are close to and the third is the true self- the one they never show. I believe there is always a meaning behind everything.
While searching for inspiration I discovered the work of Basquiat this set me on a completely different course. Basquiat’s work reflected issues such as identity, culture and society amongst other things. What struck me was his exploration of self and his identity through his use of symbols and figures.
This opened up the whole world of Neo- expressionism and painting for me. My focus was still emotions and behaviour but it became autobiographical as I explored my own identity. I had lots of questions about who I was, how I was changing, what I was thinking about all the time and my dreams and ambitions.
When I was 13 I learnt about my aboriginal heritage. This was something that resonated with me and I am intrigued to learn more about my connections. There is so much more I would like know about my past. My aboriginal connection comes from my paternal great grandmother. Her name was Annie but there is so much I don’t know that I would like to learn.
In finding myself and exploring it through my work I began to develop a lot of personal symbolism that has significance and meaning to me. Some relate to my aboriginal connection, some include roman numerals, the skeleton is a constant figure and the crown is my nod to Basquiat who has been such an influence in my discovery of myself and painting this year.
I embraced paint, oil sticks, spray paint, pastel and collage creating a vast number of works inspired by Gordon Bennett, George Condo and of course, Basquiat. This culminated in my final large scale artwork that I painted on repurposed roller blinds.
The whole process of painting has been therapeutic, fun, exhausting (using body and mind), spontaneous and there is a little bit of melancholy when the work is finished.
My work of art titled ‘Century Ghost’ is a pastel drawing that looks at the loss of culture. Inspired by various religions, I wanted to capture the once sacred practices that many would have followed. ‘Century Ghost’ is meant to raise questions amongst the viewers.
The artwork is a contemporary look at past religions that, although still a part of contemporary culture, they are not practiced/performed as much as they used to be. I wanted to create my own symbols to show how the modernised world has slowly forgotten about the old cultures and rituals that were once performed.
This triptych, composed of two portrait panels and a still life, aims to capture the lasting impact of childhood trauma, whilst emphasising the very human experience of grieving. Inspired by the German Expressionist movement, the exaggerated and bisected faces denote an intimate moment of reflection, alluding to the idea of healing and overcoming difficult times. As personal childhood symbols, the tawny frog mouth and the teddy bear equally act as protective and comforting forces while the bird simultaneously conveys the maturity and wisdom which emanates from hardships. Through my art, I wanted to create something that is melancholy yet hopeful in order to effectively encapsulate the turbulent and overwhelming experience of losing someone close to you.
I set out this year to create an imaginary friend, my alter ego through which I could portray my experiences during the stress and uncertainty of Year 12. This developed into Harry, a crochet soft sculpture with proportions designed especially to reflect a child-like humour and an aptitude for hugs and comfort-giving.
While COVID-19 prevented the kind of physical interaction between audience and character I was initially interested in, my exploration of ink illustration and collage led to the creation of a three-dimensional artist book: a sort of collaboration between myself and Harry, which explores my pursuit of humour, hope, and comfort throughout this year.
The final artwork consists of a series of ink drawings and collaged comics mounted on a free-standing frame made of recycled school folders, allowing the work to be interacted with and viewed without touch to align with COVID-19 safety measures. The inclusion of Harry in photographs of my everyday experiences was inspired by the works of Shaun Tan and JooYoung Choi, who both create sculptures and illustrations which blend the quotidian and the fantastical, especially through the use of imaginary and invented creatures. The loose ink drawings and comedic style of the comics and collages were influenced by David Shrigley and Nathaniel Russel, whose irreverent comedy and social commentary reflect my own sense of humour and whose simplistic illustration styles convey message and meaning with a clarity and playfulness I worked to emulate.
The ink illustrations – which tell the story of the beginning of Year 12 and the initial anxiety of COVID-19 – reflect my love of comedic children’s book illustrations and are imbued with a similar loose style and fourth-wall breaking dialogue, which directly involves the viewer in discussions between Harry and me. This is extended on the reverse, with the physical soft sculpture of Harry seen writing diary entries thematically linked to the events shown in the free-form collage, creating a more concrete connection between the ‘real world’ and Harry’s. The collage panels document the timeless restlessness of social isolation and Harry’s moments of frustration and joy during isolation and online learning, experiences modelled on my own.
Because of the intensity of emotion felt throughout this year and the fear and despair caught up in many aspects of it – especially those relating to COVID-19 – I felt it was important to imbue my work with a bright sense of humour and Harry was the way to achieve this. By creating a character who was physically humorous in his unusual appearance and also possessed a child-like curiosity and warmth, Harry’s presence in my comics and drawings created a vibrant hopefulness within explorations of social isolation, existential fear, and uncertainty. I hope this work can lift the spirits of viewers and become for others the source of joy and solace it has been for me.
Mixed media, collage on board
The world we live in today has no clear lines between good and bad. What we have always perceived to be good has turned out to be evil and what society deems evil based on what they see is just an individual being an individual.
Reuben Van Der Linde
Oil paint and collage on canvas
My final artwork is an oil painting of Keanu Reeves, an actor who has become prominent in the current time being depicted holding up the world and symbolising Atlas.
Mixed media, collage on canvas board
My final artwork depicting a collage of UFO, extra-terrestrial believing drug cults and other themes such as alien life, the mushroom plant and its symbolism, and worshipping hands put onto a painted background using flow mediums and trippy colours is a very satisfying result for me.
My work is a very personal, self-reflective piece. It explores the effect 2020 had on my mental health as I was constantly being dragged down, with a hopelessness that felt inescapable. We kept being thrown back into lockdown and there really wasn’t an end in sight, it just seemed to last forever. I created that in the deep dark blacks of the piece, and these chains that could hold an albatross down, they where everything keeping me in that darkness. But it’s ultimately a hopeful piece, with broken links and a clear sky ahead.
Pastel and Charcoal on Kraft Paper
My final artwork is a celebratory piece of the female form and the connections between women. Featuring various forms lounging around, some in motion. Its warm, inviting colours suggest an intimacy between the women, yet not an exclusive intimacy. I chose the colours I did in order to create warmth and unity. The connection between women in society is always something I’ve admired and I wanted to create a piece that reflected a freedom of expression. The figures’ variation in clothing and open or closed poses shows no matter how you express your womanhood, it’s the very expression that counts.
‘Caught and Drowning’
Mixed media and collage on canvas boards
Cooper’s work highlights his love of the environment and in particular the ocean and sharks. He believes sharks are a much maligned creature whose habitat and existence is under threat through human impacts. Pristine areas like the waters around the Galapagos Islands are a stark contrast to the waterways in the rest of the world.