Saturday, 16 July 2011

Sweet girl, are you sure you want to be an artist?

We visited our Regional Art Gallery during the school holidays. Our eldest daughter (15) is on the brink of choosing her subjects for her Higher School Certificate, and is contemplating choosing Visual Arts. To help her to understand the commitment involved in creating a HSC Major Work, we took her to a travelling Art Express exhibition, a diverse showcase of the very best artworks from last year's HSC. Oh my, what astounding talent was on display, and what sophisticated ideas portrayed. Here are just a few of them:
'Personal Sanctuary: If you are alone, you belong entirely to yourself'
Printmaking: oil-based printing ink on Fabriano paper
"Popular culture has warped the term 'intimacy' to mean purely physical pleasure. I diverged from this ... capturing moments of inner tranquility of individuals in their personal environment"
'Once Upon a Time'
Graphic design: acrylic paints, textas and varnish on wooden skateboards
"A representation of the contrast between the naivety of a young, innocent child and the confronting search for identity found in an adolescent"
'Set in her Ways'
Sculpture: an entire dinner setting made from hot glue
"Art nouveau designs symbolise the extremely precious and intricate nature of families, despite their increasing tendency to be replaced, lost or forgotten in today's society"
Painting: acrylic paint on canvas
"Brushstrokes ... gently move, silently with the morning light seeping through the window ... creating a concentric pattern of radiating light that mimics the continuity of life and spirit"
'Conflict of Interest (inner)'
Collection of works: mixed media on wood
"This piece ... questions the preconceived notions we hold regarding the nature and definition of hypocrisy by exposing the complex nature of the subconscious"
'Heading Towards Annihilation While Engaged in Trivial Conversation'
"Bright unnatural colours comment on the lack of knowledge of the dodo's true appearance ... (and) act as a warning about other endangered species that are in imminent danger of extinction"
'Facial Facades'
Drawing: charcoal on paper
"We don't quite remember when we were children why we were so good at getting what we wanted ... children are brilliant actors, it comes so easily to them"
'Eliphant, Bich, Barbq 
(Elephant, Beach, Barbeque)''
Drawing: pen on paper
"I want to take you inside a dyslexic head. Eliphant, bich, barbq, three words that I could not spell as a child. Red crosses dominated my exercise books. I felt a failure. I finally learned to spell elephant, beach, and barbeque ... Looking through dyslexic eyes, things move, are complex and always changing. There are feeling of confusion and frustration. For me, there was eventually calmness. "

Our visit to the Gallery was perhaps secretly intended to intimidate my daughter into choosing a less challenging HSC subject. As it happens, she came home excited, inspired and even more encouraged to follow her artistic heart! 

I would love to hear of your favourite artwork from this post. Or perhaps your experiences in getting a child through Year 12 Visual Arts :) I have saved two of my very favourite works for my next post. Stay tuned!


  1. I love those chubby little cheeks on Facial Facades which is a rather perceptive title too. Cherrie

  2. I love the idea of the entire dinner set made with hot glue!
    My DD followed her heart and studied artistic subjects (but still kept up with one maths and one science subject - just in case!) She was told she would never get into her chosen course at university....she not only got in, but finished with distinction. She has just landed her dream job in her chosen field.
    If you have passion and determination you can achieve anything!
    Good luck to your DD with her HSC.

  3. I have a daughter who did Visual Arts for her SACE (South Australian year 12). She graduated last year with a Bachelor of Visual Arts and was invited this year to study honours. For her the hardest part was keeping her confidence up. Her year 12 teacher continually told her that she was no good at art. She had a strong desire to study art at university level though and persevered. When her art teacher heard that she had applied to study visual arts at uni she told her that she should change her preferences because she would fail! Of course, she didn't fail. She did very well (as evidenced by the invitation to study honours!) She always knew that uni would "get" her even if school didn't. Encourage your daughter to believe in herself and to trust her intuition. I'm sure she will have an enjoyable experience!

  4. I love the hot glue set as well - something about the unusual use of everyday substances really makes me smile. I love that it needs not only artistic skill but also that creative 'think outside the box' element as well.
    I have no advice for you - I'm still trying to keep my children alive until they make it to Yr 12! Will watch with interest how things pan out for your daughter though. Tell her to keep the dream alive and go for it!

  5. My daughter in year 11 has just dropped Biology and will do Studio Arts instead, she is so worried about keeping up with the folio work and the number of hours required. (she has a back up plan of business management next year if necessary). My son did Visual communication and design in year 11 and studio art in year 12. Anyone that thinks that 'art' is an easy subject is so wrong, the amount of work required is amazing. I love visiting the exhibitions of these kids work, we have some truly talented young people. All the best to your daughter, if she came home inspired and looking forward to it half the battle is won!

  6. I was once a child who was talented in art. I grew up having no encouragement to pursue my abilities. My senior year of high school my art teacher saw something promising in me and unknowingly to me applied for me to get an art scholarship to the local community college. I did receive that scholarship and went to college to pursue graphic art. But alas, with no support system, I changed my major and took the easy way out. Oh how I wish I had parents who would have supported me from a young age. Maybe I would not be 49 and just discovering what my hands can do. Blessings to all of you on this wonderful adventure!

  7. as you know my kids are behind yours so no experiences there......

    I like the bottom drawings Eliphant, Bich, Barbq............Facial Facades is great too.........

    how do you get the idea to make a dinner set from a hot glue gun though??? Amazing........

  8. Wow some amazing emerging artist there! I think my favourites are the skateboards (my daughter has just done one in her art class) and the hot glue dinner set is pretty amazing- lots of patience making that! Do love the last photos too, pen drawings I think. My eldest is 14 years so not quite at this stage. Good luck with supporting your daughters choice.!

  9. I was hoping this would inspire and excite rather than intimidate.
    Yay for following dreams!!!

  10. Beautiful artwork. I did Yr 12 Art and Graphics and continued on to do Visual Arts at Uni with a double major in painting and drawing. I don't work in that field though. In my honest opinion it's such a huge amount of work and you need to keep the idea's fresh and developing. Ayden is very good at art and technical drawing but he stopped after Yr 10 and it was a very hard choice for him. He decided that the coming up with the idea's and the bulk of work was too much, and now he sees his friends in Yr 12 working so hard on their folio's. I would say, go into this subject with your eye's open to the challenges and large amount of work involved. Great skills to gained and a chance to develop an eye for colour and texture. Good luck :)

  11. All magnificent artworks - looking forward to you final 2 photos. My younger daughter chose Design and Technology for her HSC. She found designing/creating the piece of work not so difficult but having to write a journal of "the process" caused her the most grief.


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