The body of work

In the videos below, seven year 12 students discuss the development of their body of work.

These videos include their use of a visual arts process diary, their inspiration, ideas, use of materials and techniques. They reflect upon their journey, the successful completion of their works and inclusion in ARTEXPRESS.

These videos are derived from a forthcoming professional learning resource titled Visual Arts Stage 6 and the body of work. Participants completing this course will find a correlating set of filmed teacher interviews unpacking the teaching and learning process.


Watch Belle Leonard's video (07:16).

Belle Leonard, Collection of works, Maitland Grossmann High School interview about their body of work.

[Music playing]

Belle Leonard

My name is Belle. I'm 18. I live in Maitland. I went to Maitland Grossman High School. And my body of work was the reading, which was a collection of works around the idea of self image for teens and just the way that you perceive yourself versus how you actually are.

It was very useful. Because even before year 11 as well, I did the visual arts courses before that. So really, whatever you can get before going into HSC, grab it, take it. Take it in because you never know what you'll want to do. Do all of the things that your teacher gives you. Whether you might not want to do drawing or charcoal works or lino print but do it. Because you get into it and you might find that, at first, you might not like it, but you'll find that you are quite good at it.

Well, it did change. That's like it will always change. My initial idea is I wanted, well, at first, because I'm indigenous from my dad's from Northern Queensland sort of area, so I thought maybe something about that because as half white Australian and indigenous, I thought maybe something about that. But then I thought that doing something that was just about myself and my own personal journey in this sort of stage wasn't as impactful because it didn't really reach to a broader audience. People couldn't look at it and sort of say, oh, I relate to that. Only sort of a few people would probably be able to. So I thought, try to broaden it and do something that everyone can sort of feel a bit more.

My visual arts diary was it was helpful. You need it. When at the start, it was great. Before getting into the practical, like actually doing the artwork, it was great to just sit it out and just go for it, right? Whatever idea came to your head, if you were just sitting somewhere, just have it near you, so whenever you thought of anything, I could just write it down no matter how silly it was.

It was also great for when I'm researching artists beforehand and sort of styles that I like and anything. So I could sort of print off things, stick it in. Just go crazy with mind maps and brainstorming. It's a mess, if you look at mine.

In the initial stages, it was hard to get people who were willing enough to be photographed for my artwork. It was a lot for people because the artwork was about their identity and about their personal issues. I was lucky enough to actually get enough people for it. There were a lot of people that once they found out what I was doing, they sort of said, no, thank you. Some people were just too awkward to go in on the day. Some people just didn't turn up. But thank you to the people who did.

After that, the actual doing the artwork, the painting, that was tricky because I wasn't necessarily-- I hadn't done much oil painting really before that other than sort of small things in class. But I knew I could sort of figure it out. And I thought, I will be able to do this for my work.

There were just stages where it was I'm painting and oil painting just didn't work and things were just getting frustrating. So I didn't know how to work it because I was still in a learning stage of it. So talking to my teacher really helped overcome those challenges because he knows so much about anything and everything.

So family helped as well. It was good to have a refreshing you think, oh, my mom and that one. No. They kind of don't. But it's good to talk to someone who has a fresh perspective because they just go for it and let you know anything. So it's, yeah, just get as many perspectives and that really helped.

I did not want to do collection of works. I wanted to do just painting. I just wanted to get the books that I was doing it on. I knew I wanted to do some of the books. But I thought, I just have the books, have the painting on the books. That should be good enough.

And that changed drastically when my teacher was just he said, step back. Have a look. Do you think people would understand that if they weren't you and you didn't tell them? And I thought, yeah. There's not enough behind it to back it up. So that really helped, especially with the continuing metaphor of the work which was, don't judge a book by its cover. So there were so many symbols in the end that just had to be there to really push the message. So I'm not at all angry that I didn't end up just doing the paintings. I'm glad I did because it really pushed through my ideas.

Michael Zavros, I really loved his work. He was really good. I mean, obviously, I wasn't going to be able to achieve the photo realism that he was. But he was amazing. And just sort of the vanity, the idea of vanity that he sort of conveys in his work, and different perspectives like see something from another way.

I found Lin Onus in the beginning. My teacher actually introduced it to me. Like it's great. It's the whole you see stand back, and the first thing you see is just an image with just a reflection of water and some leaves and stuff. And when you look into more, in all of his works, you look a bit more, you stand there and come to learn and study it and sort of spend more time with the artwork, you see that there's the indigenous fishes and birds and lizards and whatnot all through it. So Lin Onus was really cool as well with pushing the idea of spend time and get to know things before you judge it, so I really love that. He's great. And also indigenous artist was just a big plus as well.

Students going into HSC or who are not far off, and you're deciding what to do, come up with your ideas. Write them out. As soon as possible, come up and start thinking of ideas as soon as you can. Even before if you know you're doing HSC visual arts, get started on some ideas. And as soon as you think of a good idea, stick with it.

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Watch Jane Asher's video (09:29).

Jane Asher, Documented form, Fairvale High School interview about their body of work.

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Jane Asher

I'm Jane Asher. I created Deceased Estate. And it's in the format of documented form. In year 11, one of the biggest things I did was I just took note of the trends in my bodies of work, and what I enjoyed most about them. So I think in a lot of the works I would make that I would really be the most proud of, they had this kind of moodier, darker element to them. And they had a bit of a dramatic flair to them as well.

So I guess, to put it simply, it was a dark elegance, you could say, which I think can see a lot in the Deceased Estate. It does, especially in the book, it has-- I mean, the whole thing is definitely very moody. But the book itself definitely has this theme of an elegance going through in the chandelier, and the flowers, and everything like that.

In still life, I guess you have a lot of time to put into your work. It's not like with a sitter. You have to consider how much time they have to be with you. You can sit with an object for hours. It's not going to complain. And if you have just a set with some objects, you have so much control to make whatever shot you want.

In my initial stages, it was a little bit of a mess. I remember I really liked the idea of, I guess, really immersing the audience into the body of work. And I really wanted to immerse them both through a little intimate form, and then a bigger form-- just so you can have that kind of dichotomy between being drawn in through something small and then being drawn in through something big. So I remember the book was something that I always wanted.

I remember at the beginning, though, I had this idea where I was going to project a photo of the room up on a big wall. And then that was going to be, I guess, what drew the audience in-- would be that they had to literally experience the place through this projection. We had this idea of doing like a Jeannie Baker Window-- which, oh my goodness, the stress that it gave me. I do not do crafts. I'm a photographer. I cannot do painting, crafts, or anything. So to see Jeannie Baker was just insane to me. I loved the idea of just that window, and really like transforming yourself, and transporting yourself to the house, and into that location-- which I think with the video is what we eventually accomplished, with the ASMR aspect of it and everything. Yeah.

Over time, we began to again realize that the strength of the house really lay within the walls of the house. It had such a rich history with my family, and just, I guess, everything still contained in the house. The thing that really I guess kicks people about the house is that it's so abandoned. Yet when you walk in, you notice all these like little objects left behind that really just tell you everything about the people that used to live there.

I think using a video, that worked off my strengths in photography because with cinematography, it's very, very similar to the art of photography and everything. So it wasn't like me doing a Jeannie Baker craft or anything. And then doing the ASMR aspect and audio of that video is, again, what really immerses the audience into the I guess experience of the video and the book, which is what I wanted to do with the projection. So I guess in the end, I really got everything I wanted, just in a different form.

What really helped me with my visual arts process diary is I used it, I guess, as a dumping ground for just my ideas and thoughts that would just come to me so randomly. And a lot of the times these I guess ideas, they weren't good at all. I didn't think they were great ideas. I thought they were quite naive sometimes, or quite underdeveloped. But the thing that made them so great was that I used them as stepping stones to, I guess, get to better ideas and better concepts. Then eventually, that is what created the whole body of work because these small silly ideas that had just kind of spiraled into greater concepts.

A lot of the times in my backward, I would Pinterest boards of the inspired artists. Like Uta Barth, I would make a whole page of just her photos. But I would analyze each and every single one of them like I was analyzing, I guess, a exam photo. So doing that, it helped me really discover what about each of these artists I liked, and what I could incorporate into my own body of work, which I feel like a lot of people-- they get their inspired artists, but they don't take anything from them. They just kind of see them, and they're like, I want it to look like that. But then they don't really take those steps to analyze it, and then discover how they can incorporate it into their body of work, which is what my backward helped me so much with, just having it.

I think one of the greatest challenges was the video itself. After we kind of came to the conclusion that we should make this second part of the body of work-- a video that in itself is a challenge. But doing the actual video itself because I had no experience with cinematography, directing, editing, or I guess even composing a video. I was really at a loss for how I could work with that. I had to research a lot of it all on my own. So I had to research how the cameras worked. How to make compositions. How to create dolly systems on your own. Because with cameras, a lot of times people don't realize, but you have these frames per second that if your camera can't have a high frame rate per second, then you have to create these big dolly systems just to keep the shots still from moving so much.

Because of I guess my affinity for photography, we always knew that we wanted to do something with photography. But I always knew that I wanted to do something that really immersed the audience, and really made it an experience for them, much like an installation. So I guess combining those two factors, it was very easy to land on documented forms.

At the forefront, I think Rob Dobi is probably one of the biggest inspirations to this body of work. I do love Uta Barth so much, but I feel like for the purposes of this work, Rob Dobi just played such an important role. Just in the way that he-- he also does like abandoned places and things like that. Just the way that he composes his images. He has a background I think in design somewhere, like commercial design. So he sets up his images very cleanly in such a, I guess dirty place, like an abandoned warehouse, or something like that. And he can just go to these places, find objects there, and create a whole narrative and meaning about them that reflects that place.

Additionally, Uta Barth was crazy inspiring to me. She has this ability to transform some of the most simplest mundane subjects into such incredible meaningful works. Lastly, Trent Park has this really creepy uncanny ability to make his images so eerie. He takes these really simple images of, say, a person on a street corner. And he just makes them so eerie. Even if they're in the middle of the day, he can just-- he makes-- I don't know. There's just something about his images that they really unsettle you when you look at them.

And I liked that quality just because the place of my grandparents' house. Because it's abandoned, at night, it becomes this really eerie creepy place. And I wanted to really capture that in the video just so it would be such a shock going from the dark elegance of the book to this really Trent Park-y eerie quality in the video, which is like just so empty.

First and foremost, I think the most useful thing that I ever learned in doing this whole experience was never to compare your process to that of others. Because I remember in the beginning of the year, I was going so slow just because we were trying to kind of figure out how we were going to exhibit it. We didn't really have that second element of the video fully envisioned yet. So on the artwork was very slow up until about term two. And then that's when everything started picking up. And so in doing that, and seeing I guess the success that I had even when comparing my experiences to that of my classmates-- you don't have to compare yourself to others.

Lastly, listen to your teachers. There are, of course, going to be moments that you have to kind of trust yourself and again, believe in yourself so you don't compare yourself to others. But your teachers, for the most part, know what they're doing. And they can see your work from a different angle that you really may lose sight of. And I remember throughout high school, I did find it really difficult to listen to my teachers. I would of course take them on board a lot of times. But there would be certain points that I would just be so stubborn, and I would fight them so hard on it.

And I remember at the end of year 11, I had my teachers and my mom, and so many people telling me your biggest problem is that you're not listening to teachers. And you really have to put so much more trust in them. So for year 12, that's like exactly what I did. And it paid off incredibly.

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Sebastian Clarke (00:09:11)

Sebastian Clarke, Drawing, Dubbo School of Distance Education student interview about their body of work.

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Sebastian Clarke

I think year 11 was most useful in determining what I didn't want to do. Tamara would have quickly realized that I wasn't interested in working expressively or within pastel, and that I naturally leaned more towards drawing from the start. I think it was useful, however, to try out those other expressive forms. And I was able to take certain skills that were transferable and use them on my body of work. So I think a variety of students that have yet to choose one expressive form or another will find it useful to go through and at least try out and see what they're good at.

I've been drawing for as long as I can remember. So it was a sensible choice, in my eyes, to follow down that path. I did have a brief stint working with paint and a mache-type material, neither of which amounted to much. But Tamara and I agreed early on in the piece that whatever I-- whatever path I choose to go down should reflect the place where I grew up and the landscape surrounding it.

After deciding that a work set around home was the most logical choice, with the strongest conceptual background, the few paintings that I did do were of the countryside and of rams' heads, both of which I obviously continued to pursue right until the end of my body of work. Tamara and I spoke of portraits of different animals species and their effect on the land from an agricultural perspective. Tamara had always suggested, though, I attempt a large-scale color work. It was an area that I wasn't comfortable with, working large scale. I think it's why I created the smaller panels to accompany the larger work, just to do something that I was more at home with, working on a smaller scale.

The data projector that Tamara provided really saved me some time in the long run, particularly with the positioning and the scaling of the animals on the paper. She also brought me some masking fluid, in which I was able to cover over the finer bits in the-- of the work, where I was able to watercolor over the top of that with not too much worry at all. Tamara helped me source some 300- and 600-gram paper, of which I found the hard-pressed paper to be the paper that I like to use.

Experimentation with the watercolor pigments and Winsor & Newton blocks helped to add some much-needed color to my work. You know, in doing that, I was able to fill in large areas of paper pretty quickly. And that saved me a lot of time when it came to the crunch of getting it done, in that I mixed my own and found that subtle and dull colors best suited to what I was trying to achieve, and that it matched the color palette of the land that I was trying to re-create.

The drought really affected how the concept of my work progressed. It became more and more of a focal point as the year went on. And it was interesting, as well, to see how Australia reacted to the drought.

This was when the Buy a Bale program was just starting. And, you know, the dry was-- became such a massive focal point in the media as well. So it was a bit of a happy accident that my work became as topical as it did for, you know, a good or bad reason.

My VPAD was crucial in recording, developing, and executing ideas surrounding my body of work. I had photographs of many Australian artists' artworks that I felt were inspiring, and could look back on them and try and use them to better my own work. It was a tool that allowed me to test materials and techniques before trying to implement them onto my body of work. So I didn't have to make too many mistakes in that part. And it was great to receive feedback from Tamara, as she was able to look into the book and easily follow my train of thought, and was able to comment them, so that we could achieve the best outcome.

It was right from the word go that I wanted to draw for my body of work. But after attending a field day in Aubrey, I was told that drawing would never get me any high marks. So I ventured down the path of painting for a little while, an area that I didn't have any immediate talent in. So I'm glad that I stuck to my guns and proved them wrong.

Studying the work of John Wolseley, his practice of looking at the macro and the micro views of the landscape helped me to narrow down what I was aiming to achieve. His botanical studies, and his draftsmanship tell a story of place, such as the ram in my work representing a landowner surveying his land. I also found Joseph McGlennon's photographs beneficial, seeing a direction that I wanted to pursue, his subject matter being-- depicting animals in their natural environments and habitats. And I found that is something that I would like to re-create in my own work.

I've always enjoyed making art. And I think some level of interest is fundamental in your ability to stay on track and keep on top of things. You know, assessment tasks and the fear of failing were pretty good spur-alongs in order for me to reach my goals and deadlines.

Visits from my teacher and workshops where you were able to interact with other students in your class were all positive experiences because it's pretty hard to do it on your own. So if you can get some encouraging words, it's always a good thing.

In reflection, I think I spent too much trying to use forms that I wasn't comfortable with. You really need to find out what you're good at, and just run with it from there. Finding an idea that's conceptually strong and has a strong connection to the student, I think, is pretty key. You're going to stay motivated and interested if you like what you're doing. And most importantly, you've just got to start, and don't stop until it's done.

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Watch Jamie Wong's video (05:48).

Jamie Wong, Sculpture, Beverly Hills Girls High School student interview about their body of work.

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Jamie Wong

My name's Jamie Wong. My body of work is unnatural selection. And it's a sculpture made of cardboard.

Experimenting and understanding different expressive forms, ideas, art movements really helped in understanding how I wanted to approach my body of work and what sort of message I wanted to convey. Initially, I wanted to do some woodcarving. But I had no experience in it. And I was advised not to do it if it was the first time or how much time I need.

So I still wanted to continue with the sculpture idea. And seeing a lot of past HSC body of works, a lot of them had to do with, well, a couple of them had to do with animals. And I wanted to approach something with, say, birds because I recently did adopt a bird during that time. And I wanted to see if I could incorporate it into my body of work.

At first, I wanted to just look at one type of bird, which was the cockatoo. But over time, I was advised to continue working on more than just one. And it would be better for my concept to work on more than just one. So it slowly evolved into me having three separate birds.

I used my VAPD for documentation, researching how the birds move, also having different artists that I can refer back to, images for references, anything that I could improve on. And it was really useful in looking back at seeing how I did things and techniques and how I could improve on it over time.

One challenge in making my body of work was trying to figure out how to make certain textures like bark, feathers, and everything to make it look more realistic, and also having to cut everything individually. So I had to ask a couple of people, like my art teacher, how to make the bark, like ripping pieces together or cutting it up, seeing which one worked better.

I looked at quite a few artists. But two really stuck with me. And that was Laurence Vallieres and Anna-Wili Highfield. Both of them really looked at animals. The first one looked at making cardboard animals very realistic. While the second one was just birds out of paper. We got a lot of resources from our teachers, advice on where to look, such as Art Express, previous people, and how they looked at different artists as well, also looking through that cardboard book, and just exploring.

Having individual feedback and having schedules like assessments and exhibitions like the CAPA night, knowing when you should have a certain degree of your body of work finished, considering which time you can allocate to spending on your body of work, all that all together really helped. And overall, knowing when you should spend on doing certain assignments for different subjects as well as your body of work really helps.

You have to be responsible with your own time, your own schedule. Know when you should spend doing different stuff for different subjects, different assessments, knowing when you should have free time, when you should spend working on your part time job, knowing what you should do at what time, that really helps. It's also good to have a break every now and then, not just focus all on working. Because at some point, you're going to overwork yourself if you keep doing that. So having a break is good. Planning out what you should get done also really good.

Have confidence and ask your teacher when you need help. Because sometimes when you're stuck, you should just break out of that mindset that this is just me working on it and really ask for someone else's advice on how to approach stuff because someone else's advice could really help you along the way. Like for me, I really wanted to just do one bird. But over time, it did help to have three rather than just one. It really solidified the concept behind my body of work.

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Watch Hannah Prenzler's video (05:02).

Hannah Prenzier, Drawing, Kooringal High School interview about their body of work.

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Introduction title slide. Hannah Prenzler Kooringal High School, Wagga Wagga. Title of artwork: Overwhelmed. Expressive form: Drawing.

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Hannah has a sensory processing disorder and she preferred to write her interview responses

Question: What did you bring from your experiences in Year 11 that helped you develop your Body of Work?


My Year 11 art teacher taught us a lot of fundamentals such as the main principles of artistic practice. We were also encouraged to begin approaching paintings with a clear intent and message: thus including a prepatory stage combined with research.

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Question: What were your ideas in the initial stages of your Body of Work?


Being born in Korea, and thus interested in Korean culture, I initially wanted to use that as a basis for my artwork. That is, a series of seven artworks, depicting the stages of the moon and what it represents, combined with portraits of various Korean idols.”

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Question: How did your idea change overtime?


My art teacher was quick to point out my lack of ‘personal’ connection with that idea. While I did have the personal connection with Korea, I found that finding something much more intrinsic within my own personal identity would play out better into a final piece.”

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Question: Using your Visual Arts Process Diary


I mainly used it for a thumb nailing process as well as sticking in the pieces of research that I had compiled. Because of my sensory processing issues I am restricted in what materials I use and therefore there wasn’t much experimentation of that sort.”

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Question: Outline one challenge you faced in managing your Visual Arts Process Diary and discuss how you resolved it?


The biggest challenge was visualising the senses. I had to really think long and hard about ‘what hearing looks like’, and ‘ what sight looks like’. It’s one thing explaining the sensations in words, and it’s another actually putting those words and ideas down onto paper into a coherent piece of art.

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Question: How did you determine what expressive form to place your work in and did it change over time?


I actually started out with watercolours however it became apparent that I lacked the necessary expertise that to work. However, something I’m very comfortable with is lead pencils. So, after consultation with my teacher, I ultimately decided to do pencil portraits.

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Question: What structures help to manage the making of your body of work?


Having such a small class included invaluable one-on-one with the teacher about your Body of Work. This, and a pre-established schedule was a major factor in the successful completion of my art.

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Question: What advice could you give to help students starting out now?


Do not leave it to the last minute. You could be an artistic genius but that won’t save you if you have a week left to complete your body of work and only 10 shots of espresso to keep your brain from self-imploding.

“Also take the time to talk to your teacher, they’re there to help you. Hannah Prenzler 2019

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Fade to NSW Department of Education logo.

End of video.

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Watch Nicholas Budisetio's video (05:41).

Nicholas Budisetio, Video, St Ives High School, student interview about their body of work.

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Nicholas Budisetio

Hi. I'm Nicholas Budisetio, and I went to St. Ives High. And I did HCR. In year 11, we had an art camp for three days. And on that art camp, we explored a bunch of different forms of art like sculpture, drawing, printmaking. And that really helped me to gain an idea of composition, and color, and what I would want my artwork to look like.

So I kind of used that as a base, a foundation for building my own art. And that led me to delve further into photography as I did have an interest in photography before. But I kind of explored the medium a bit further on Art Camp. I had many opportunities to kind of go around, take photos of a bunch of beautiful scenes, a bunch of beautiful people, all that stuff. Eventually, I gained the idea of a narrative. Most of the photos I took kind of had a story behind them. Yeah. I thought photography was just really excellent for creating narratives.

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In year 12, I kind of started the year with my mind set on me doing photography, and I had a pretty closed mind about it. I was like, yep. Photography-- that's definitely what I'm doing. But as I went through, I kind of struggled to formulate an idea that I was really happy with. And the main reason was because I wasn't able to explore a deep enough narrative that I was satisfied with. So I decided to delve into film, and that gave me a lot more flexibility for the much wider scope that it provided me for portraying a narrative. It kind of gave me visual continuity and just a lot more information than a series of pictures.

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Subject 1

Time it's not something we can see or hear. We can't touch it and can't taste it or smell it, either. But we know it's there. We can feel it constantly passing us by.

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Nicholas Budisetio

Throughout year 12, I actually had quite a few ideas, but I didn't really like them. So there were many times when I started over, started with a new idea, or got some storyboarding in. But then I'd scrap the idea because I didn't like it. Yeah, that probably happened at least three or four times throughout the year. I thought that the concept of time really stood out to me, so I decided to do some research on the actual philosophy of time.

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With a VADP, I started off with storyboarding initially. I printed out some images that I really liked, that I enjoyed the composition of, or the colors, or the shot type, stuff like that in my diary. And kind of analyze the image. Sometimes, I'd try to replicate that. And sometimes it would result in an interesting shot. Sometimes, it wouldn't. But it really gave me a starting point for the types of shots that I would like to have in my film.

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I think the main challenge for me was actually getting started on my major. There was a lot of idea developing leading up to my major. But the issue I had was actually getting out and filming stuff. What I would have to do is, you know, just go out. Take my camera with me. And if I saw something, I would film it. It didn't even matter if it was interesting or not. But as long as I had something to work with, it was better than having nothing.

Even if I didn't have my camera with me, I was able to use my phone sometimes. And I actually included some shots from my phone in my film. Some of them were really short, but I did have them in there. It really helps having a phone, because it kind of just gave me an easy access camera.

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Two of the artists that stood out to me were Bill Viola and Bill Henson. And with their shots, I really felt like they carried a lot of mood. And I kind of aim to replicate that. How much I did, I'm not sure. But it really gave me a good starting point for seeing what kinds of shots were effective.

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I feel like I was really lucky with the class I got, because everyone was really open about their ideas or really open about their feedback. If it was bad, they'll tell you it was bad. If it was good, they'll tell you it was good. If they have suggestions, they give them. And the teachers were also a big help because they really helped in supporting you and pushing you to get started or do better. Lots of strong encouragement from my teacher. And yeah, it really helped me to actually get started and finish my artwork.

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Get started as soon as you can. Make sure you manage your time well. Just try keep organized across the subjects, not just art. But it's really important to stay organized and, you know, kind of have an idea of what you're going to do. It doesn't have to be exact. But it's better to just get started on something rather than nothing, because it gives you something to work with.

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Alexis Potts (00:07:33)

Alexis Potts, Photomedia, Mosman High School student interview about their body of work.

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Alexis Potts

My name is Lexi Potts. My series of photography was Exsaturated Deutan, which Exsaturated was exaggerated saturation. And Deutan is my kind of color-blindness. I'm red-green colorblind, and deutan is the name of that kind of color blindness. And so that was the whole concept of my photography series was my personal experience with my color blindness, and showing that in my work to people who aren't colorblind, and just showing that there is really no difference. We all see differently.

The main thing was I knew my style of photography already. I knew I love to have lots of color, lots of props and costumes. I've done that a lot in my free time for five years. And so the big thing was how do I make a concept that helps show my style and have the style help my concept. And I really wanted to have a personal concept to myself. So my colorblindness really helped with that and linked the two together. It was a lot about the process of elimination. I'd get very excited, always seeking inspiration all the time, going to galleries, looking at different artists. There'd be moments of having a crazy idea, and I'd write it down. But process of elimination thinking-- does this idea help with my concept? Does it help with the practice, or does it distract from it and not strengthen the concept? So through the whole journey of the major work, I would put any idea I had in my art diary, and look at it, and see would it help prove what I was trying to set out to do.

My biggest challenge was I had four major works. So the biggest thing was costs and expenses of my project and how did I want my crazy ideas to become possible with trying to get the products, the price of everything. So there were times of I did paper mache, so I went to the news agency across the road from school, and got stacks of old newspapers that they weren't using, and went on Facebook around the community, asking to borrow flower vases from people, and using those as props. And seeing anything I could that was free, just not being afraid to ask for help. And yeah, that was one of the struggles, but it was really satisfying figuring it out and making it work.

I had a studio space I rented out for my photo shoot. And mentioning to people I was a year 12 student, and I'm doing a major work. They really understood the importance of helping out with that. The studio I had given my proposal to gave me a discount as being a student. It was always photography. It was always that. It's always been my strongest point. But I used that to my advantage by doing the paper mache in some of my props. I did woodwork by making the clothing line. That was one of my props in my shoots. And doing lots of spray paint. And because I didn't do any of the photography at school, I used that time to make those props and make my set design stronger and more powerful.

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I accessed artists such as Cindy Sherman. She does a lot of photography that relates to clowns. And that was a big concept I was using to explain to people what I wanted my shoots to look like, saying that a lot of people have fears of clowns. And my colorblindness is kind of like that same fear and anxiety over something that's quite silly. Like clowns are supposed to be something that are entertaining and funny, but it's that painted smile on their face where you don't know how they feel that scares people. And for me, that's color, where I can look at a color and convince myself that's one color, but then I'm like, no, it's this. No, it's that. So there's that little bit of anxiety through color blindness that I love the whole idea of theatrical clowns and this and that. But I was showing that with my color blindness by using performance artists, and people seen as clowns, and very theatrical to embrace my color blindness. And another artist was Tracy Moffatt. I just love her set design and used that as inspiration as well.

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It was really important for me to have feedback with my teachers constantly and sharing my ideas. It was very helpful to have that brainstorming out loud talking to other people. Because it really helped structure my ideas and try and make it more coherent. I really wanted to take advantage of the people who were there to help me. And I had even emailed the MCA and mentioned that I was a year 12 student, and I really wanted my artwork to seem as professional as it could be. And the lead in artist education sat down with me for half an hour, and looked at my sketchbook, and was very open to help giving me advice, and gave me advice I never really thought I'd be asking for. But it really helped in the end.

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My advice would be have a concept that's really personal to you or have something that you really connect with. Because with that, you'll know once you've done it right. And you know once you're complete, because it will feel right. And don't be afraid to ask for help. This is your time to have something that feels bigger than yourself and a big project you can be very proud of. In my whole photography series, there were four different scenes, different set designs. And there is four large images in the printed series and three smaller photos of each of those scenes scattered throughout the layout of the series. And the four large prints are the original coloring of the scenes, and the smaller prints are different scenarios within the scene color-manipulated.

And so when the audience looks at the photos, they can see the differences in coloring throughout the series, and then wonder which one is the correct coloring, and that there is no right to it. We all see differently. I'm just an extreme outlier with my color blindness that I can get the colors confused. And so that gave me control of me knowing better about the coloring than the audience does, even not being color blind. So embracing something that people would usually ask, why would I use so much color, being a color-blind artist, and instead just embracing color and taking control. A lot of my time after HSC has been a lot of freelancing with my photography, and figuring out how to use my creative side also with my work, and using that as a strong point in my photography. I do a lot of performance artist photography and capturing those moments of what other creatives are showing within their scenes, and their performances, and trying to capture those moments they want. And yeah, just embracing the creative community, having my studio in Marrickville, and just getting into it, yeah.

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  • HSC
  • Stage 6
  • Visual Arts

Business Unit:

  • Educational Standards
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