Graduate Interview | AUT Bachelor of Visual Arts

This year Artists Alliance is running a group interview series with Graduates from various visual arts schools throughout Aotearoa. First up is a group of recent graduates from Auckland University of Technology, sharing moments from their time at art school. This interview was made possible due to the wonderfully thorough graduate publication, featuring images and contact details from each graduate, spearheaded by AUT graduate Gillian Green.

Can you tell us about a stand out moment from your time studying at AUT?
What does your work look / sound / feel / smell like?

Annabel McKinnon 

The most stand out moment of my studies at AUT was definitely the opening night of AD16. It was the most amazing experience to see so many people viewing my work and it made me feel so reassured that I had chosen the right path for myself by making the decision to pursue art. The experience of this show made me feel that I’m where I am meant to be and I am doing what I am meant to be doing, which was probably the best feeling ever.

p1080072Annabel McKinnon, Untitled (2016) Acrylic on water colour paper. Photo by Arielle Walker.

My work is a painted diary of the feelings and thoughts that I have dealt with and still continue to deal with as a person with mental illness. I let my artwork tell the world my secrets and say the things that I do not like to say out loud. It makes me feel free.

p1080071Annabel McKinnon, Untitled (2016) Acrylic on water colour paper. Photo by Arielle Walker.

Ary Jansen:

In year one we had to do painting and I don’t really like painting.. so I covered the wall in peanut butter, jam, tomato sauce and mustard. I put some of those craft cheese plastic-y squares on it too. It attracted all these flies and it didn’t smell good. An ex student walked in to the studio and was like “ohhh yep, there’s always one yr 1 who brings the flies, this year it’s you.”

[my work} looks like a diaristic mash up of found and recorded video. the recorded stuff just stuff i see when i’m walking around, the found stuff just stuff that i remember when i’m thinking about stuff. Kinda like a video collage, projected in a big dark room.

sounds like my voice talking over a soundtrack, pretty loud.

feels like a pretty big pretty empty room, but like emotionally feels like a lot of feelings.

smells like probably whatever you smell like when you go see it. B.O? Lynx? Idk

ary-jansen Ary Jansen, 2016. What makes me deserving of this space? Digital Video Still.

Elora Norman

The best example for me personally is when recently this year, [I was] really scared for a stupid amount of time to go into the darkroom by myself and develop film. It scared me for so many reasons – mainly the fear of being responsible for a roll of film I cared about – but one day I went in there and did the whole thing and even made prints by myself and I felt kinda high not from the chemicals just from proving to myself that it was okay to do that, and that I could. It took me 3 years to realise that.

The only thing I can see when I look at my work now is that all it deserved was a C. It smells like a C it smells and feels average I guess…

Oh well c’est la vie

Gillian Green:

There are so many highlights!  I think one of the most important for me, and why I chose AUT in the first place, was the community you build during your time here.  We’ve had a great group in our year this year, I know the photography cohort that I was part of was especially tight as a group and that’s been really special.  That’s one of the key reasons I decided to explore a student produced Graduating Class book, so that we can continue our AUT community out into the real world, and I hope that getting ourselves out there as a group will grow our presence, and opportunities as artists going forward.  That said, I’m really proud of the way it turned out, and it shows what a great community that we have, as all the students got on board with the project and lots of them gave a lot of time and effort into making it happen.  We are also lucky to have huge support from our amazing technicians.  So, as a stand out moment, it is great to end the degree on a moment like that.

gilian-green-2Gillian Green, 2016

I’m told a lot that my work is soothing.  I want the viewer to become immersed in my work, enough to have their own personal experience while watching it.  I’m interested in memory, specifically recollection and how memory changes with recollection.  So, it interests me that the viewer is going to have their own recollections while watching my work, and that my work might also subtly change their own memories at the same time.  In that way, I do aim for my work to be, not necessarily soothing, but peaceful and engaging at the same time.  To be displacing.  My most recent work is both moving image: Seam and still images.

gillian-greenGillian Green, 2016. Artist photo by Natsha Nandabhiwat

Meighan van Malland

The stand out moment for me would be the amazing opportunity we had in my degree (Visual Arts) to take on a Minor Paper. This was something new that started with my class, and the options were great, there are so many minor classes to pick from – and they are options that I didn’t expect to have the opportunity to learn about when doing the Visual arts degree. The fact that they added these extra classes in for us to further our learning opportunities was awesome. I took on the Sustainable Design paper, where I got to learn about sustainability and Design Thinking ideas and practices, where we had the chance to work with real world Design projects with company’s throughout South Auckland.

My work is an installation that displays a private side of my life that the viewers wouldn’t normally get an opportunity to see. It displays documentary photographs that show several aspects of me and my friends in our day to day lives as ‘Emerging Adults’. The installation of soft pastel canvases and an array of Polaroid Photographs has a different effect on each viewer; they have an open invitation into my private life, where they can spend time looking at the intimate photographs, thinking, feeling, and for some, reminiscing on a similar time in their lives.

Sosefina Andy

It is difficult to isolate one memorable time throughout my study at AUT University because I was continuously challenged to produce unforgettable work which I cherished. However one that does stood out from the rest would be the night my parents attended their first art exhibition. It was even more special because I had the pleasure of being selected to participate in this group exhibition amongst locally renowned artists. The show “OFFSTAGE7″, was curated by multi-disciplinary artist Louisa Afoa and hosted by the Artspace Gallery, on K’Road. Having my parents amongst the audience to celebrate work within the Pasifika art community which portrayed the fundamental nature of life, family as well as the journey that our Pasifika people took to arrive to where we are now was an experience that will be embedded in my memory eternally. Moreover, the emotions I felt on the night will potentially be channelled towards a future art project.

sosefina-andySosefina Andy, wide view documentation; Graduating Exhibition installation (2016)

My work often exudes feelings of comfort, closeness and the relationships between myself and others, the space I knew as a child in comparison to my current position. They often intend to eject a scent of history, ancient knowledge foretold again through modern material manipulation and contemporary methodologies, that emanated lightness, softness and subtlety while voicing the opinions of my already rested ancestors through fagogo and fa’amatalaga  (story-telling and conversation).

sosefine-andy-2Sosefina Andy, Back view- Wall paper chair cover, wooden support structure ; Graduating Exhibition installation (2016)