Big Day In is an annual event that takes place at QACI for Visual Arts students in Year 11 and 12. Students choose an artist to work with and create artwork to be used in their final art exhibition that use the techniques and skills they learn from participating in a workshop with their chosen artist. This year, there were five artists who were kind enough to share their expertise with us. Bill Platz – Mirror Life Drawing, Caroline Gasteen – From Your Perspective: Painting from 3D Collage, Gus Eagleton – Pictures of Self and Others, Pat Hoffie – Painting your own life into existence, and my choice – Andrew Rewald - Ethnobotanicals.
Andrew Rewald's workshop 'Ethnobotanicals' focussed on working on a small-scale using plants as inspiration or reference images. He shared with us that 'Ethnobotanicals' reference the connection between culture, politics, and nature. We were all encouraged to bring samples of our own plants from home so that we had a deeper connection to our subject matter. Andrew Rewald's artwork is centred around sustainability, and the cultural impacts of plants. He spoke about how he was originally passionate about cooking and art separately, and how long it took him to realise that he could connect the two. One of my favourite things about this workshop was not only how diverse all of our resolved pieces turned out to be; but how they came together with the common inspiration and mediums. Andrew was a lovely person and amazingly passionate about his work. He helped develop our ideas with us individually and had such a wealth of knowledge to share with us about art.
From what I heard through talking to my friends in my visual art class, everyone found the workshops they chose as valuable as I found Andrew Rewald's. Bill Platz' workshop worked on developing life drawing skills, which will be useful for the students in Year 12 as later in the year, Year 12 Visual Arts student will be doing a life drawing unit.
Caroline Gasteen, whose workshop I attended last year, uses 3D collages as reference for 2D paintings. I found her workshop last year very educational and it really helped me to become more accurate in my scale and perspective in painting. Caroline uses lo-fi materials like paper, gouache and tape to explore perspective, composition, form, flatness, scale and abstraction.
Gus Eagleton is an artist who works at a massive scale on large contemporary murals. He has over ten years parigint experience in the mural profession and has produced artworks with Brisbane City Council, Queensland Rail, Scentre Group, Mirvac, IBM to name a few. He ran a non-traditional portraiture workshop which had amazing results especially considering the time students had to make large realistic paintings.
Pat Hoffie works with multiple mediums, but mostly paints on canvases. Hoffe ran a workshop where students painted photos which document the past 6 months of their lives. Students had to bring along music that they had been listening to during the past 6 months along with a selection of images from their phone that recorded their last 6 months. Using this stimulus, and thinking about the mundane, the everyday, students then painted a time capsule of the moment.
Personally, I am quite sad that this is my last ever Visual Arts Big Day In – we are so lucky to have these opportunities at QACI and to work with industry professionals doing something that we love. I feel like I've learnt a lot with my two experiences at the Big Day In.
...article written by Lauren Fuge, Year 12