We know all about the sleepless nights, stress and endless procrastination that happens when you have a major work. So we wanted to give some VA students who suffered through it all a shout out for doing some ace work. Check ’em out below (by the way, they’re in a random order and we got a bit excited and included eight people instead of seven- you’re welcome).

1. Zach Murray

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Zach Murray4

@zachary

Can you describe your work?

My artworks are a compilation of varying representations of how serial killers are portrayed. I’ve used historical, cinematic and societal inspirations to create these pieces.

How did you come up with the idea?

I came up with my idea in class when I was brainstorming. But this idea was an idea I had been wanting to do years before my HSC and I saved it for the right time.

What’s your advice to students picking a subject with a major work or just starting to work on their project? 

Please pick your practice and ideas wisely. Make sure you know it’s something you can pull off and execute to the best of your abilities. Also, plan out what you’re doing so you don’t freak out at the due time.

What were the best and/or worst parts of the whole thing?

The best part is seeing the final product and appreciating all the effort you put into it. But the worst part is the constant fear of some Year 8 student ruining it.

2. Chèrise Combrink

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cherise

Can you describe your work?

I did a series of nudes using three circle wooden canvas’s utilising oil paints to create a mesmerising and beautiful depiction of the human condition, whilst using my style to intricately detail out each body, but also using the same colour palette. They’re confronting, they’re raw and they’re just like us.

How did you come up with the idea?

The human condition itself has always fascinated me, so I based my work on what I knew best to paint, nudes, and utilised my never-ending thought of ‘why we are the way we are?’ to come up with my idea.

My nudes were created to strip down any label, to be extremely raw and real, ultimately allowing my audience to be vulnerable whilst looking at my piece. To see the beauty that is who we are as the human race, as it is so intricate, delicate and unique; that the delicacy we all uphold is not weakness, but strength.

What’s your advice to students picking a subject with a major work or just starting to work on their project?

You don’t have to be extreme to do a good major work, do what you’re good at and evolve it to make it unique, along with making sure it’s what you love.

Art is submerged in what you believe in, be passionate about it. Don’t believe it’s a chore to do a major work. Tell yourself ‘I get’ to do this major work, not ‘I have to’. And stay true to your sight, and if you’re stuck, look into what you’ve been through, what your values are, and it’ll come easier than you expect.

What were the best and/or worst parts of the whole thing?

The worst and most challenging part was doing my male piece; I have never done a male nude before and he was a challenge. But, it’s an opportunity to really challenge yourself and I’m really glad I decided to do it. The best part about it all is that every day I could put my heart and passion into something I was creating and watching evolve.

3. Zoe Major

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Zoe Major1

@majorarts

Can you describe your work?

My series of paintings are centred around the women who have influenced my life and inspired me to become the young woman I am today. They are influenced by a passionate, female, Australian artist whose works resonate with me, Del Katherine Barton.

Elements of my HSC works include adaptions of her famous traits, of detailed patterning, bright colour and symbolic objects. Del Barton’s style has allowed me to explore significant people and moments from my own life. Hopefully my work allows the wider audience to reflect on their own experience of powerful and influential women in their own lives.

How did you come up with the idea?

I was heavily influenced by Dal Barton’s unique style and the mothers and friends essential in my life. However, it was also the support and encouragement I relived from both my art teacher and mentor, Teena.

Also, the ongoing love and support of my parents. The idea for my works was something that evolved and developed over the 12 months as a result of in-depth research and exposure to a wide range of art exhibitions in both regional and major city galleries.

What’s your advice to students picking a subject with a major work or just starting to work on their project?

Personally, I know the number of hours that goes into producing a major work and my main piece of advice is to stick to focusing on an idea or theme you are passionate about it have an in-depth connection with. I know that the late-night hours spent dotting and doing thousands of lines in the backgrounds of my pieces would not have been able to be done if I didn’t have the close connection to my subject matter, that I have.

Another piece of advice would be to start the foundational planning early, which will allow you to manage your time the best that you can. However, you need to be prepared to spend a large portion of your designated time over the 12 months on your major work.

What were the best and/or worst parts of the whole thing?

The best part of the entire process is the hand in, and the sense of accomplishment you feel when you look at your major work and you are proud of what you have produced.

On the other hand, the worst part of the process, personally was the amount of pressure and stress that I put myself under, due to the fact that I wanted to portray the important women in my life the best way I would, and in a way that exemplified their strong female qualities.

But the process is an amazing one, definitely worth the blood sweat and tears when you see the finished project and, in my case, show it to the women that I was representing and have them recognise the emotions I was trying to capture.

4. Phoebe Crammond

Phoebe Crammond7

art

Can you describe your work?

I explore the distortion of, and disconnection between, people and their mental, social and physiological health. The stigmas surrounding emotional and physical imbalances within societies have forced individuals into a state of disconnection from themselves and their wellbeing.

This notion of self-detachment is represented within my work through the severing between each form of connection; mind, body and community.

How did you come up with the idea?

I came up with this idea when I was looking through some of Francis Bacon’s and James Gleeson’s work. I’ve doodled images like these for years but my idea for my major work came to me when I was looking at other people’s work.

What’s your advice to students picking a subject with a major work or just starting to work on their project?

My advice for students is to not be afraid of people questioning your mentality or not liking your major work. If you want to convey a message the best way to do it is by constructing something unique and/or confronting, and this applies to any subject.

What were the best and/or worst parts of the whole thing?

The best part of this whole experience was painting it at the beginning. I scrapped my previous idea (which I had already painted on 1/3 of my canvases) and started to create something I actually wanted to paint.

The worst part about this was the long process and by the end of Year 12 I started hating my artwork because I had spent so much time painting and it still wasn’t what I envisioned.

5. Kasey Halam

Kasey Halam1

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@kasey

Can you describe your work?

My artwork explores both the safety and comfort of a bath as well as the danger and emotional insecurities experienced in such a private place.

The bath is a symbol of reflection and isolation, whereas the mirror behind it creates the illusion of a whole bath and makes the human eye travel beyond what is displayed. The hand as a symbol of the connection between safety and chaos by reaching out for freedom of the chaotic world of absurdity.

How did you come up with the idea?

My original idea was ‘milk bath photography’ and to have someone placed inside a bath surrounded by objects but I decided to look more into the ideas of how a bath can be used for other reasons such as a thinking space, for alone time, relaxation etc.

I wanted to make something that was unique and different to other major works. So, I decided to make an installation to express different emotions through a found object that wouldn’t usually be thought of and to present it in a way that is unusual but also to create interest and depth.

What’s your advice to students picking a subject with a major work or just starting to work on their project?

My advice would be to start brainstorming early! I had a lot of other ideas that I could’ve chosen but instead I decided to work with the most technical idea.

If you decide that you want to create a heavily detailed BOW, then prepping is the most important thing to do. Making sure you start early gives you time to set goals for what you want to achieve and gives you enough time to fix any problems that occur throughout your art making.

What were the best and/or worst parts of the whole thing?

Some of the best parts of my BOW was seeing the transformation of a plain white bath, to a fully tiled installation that I created. Being excited about tiling the bath, painting the walls for the installation and seeing it all come together in the end became very exhilarating.

Some of the worst parts included running out of tiles four times and waiting for them to arrive which was very suspenseful and purchasing all the equipment I needed which became expensive, but in the end, it was all worth it.

6. Cameron Johnstone

Cameron Johnstone10

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Can you describe your work?

My artwork is a representation of the impact of divorce and loss on my family. In the work I have explored the three main stages my brother, father and I faced after losing contact with my mother after divorce- the rage and anger of looking back on the past and our darkest memories, the emotional struggle of trying to move on from the past and into an unknown future, and the final stage of finding subtle happiness in our lives as we look into the future.

How did you come up with the idea?

This was always the idea that I would work with for my major project as I had known for years.

After the events that had taken place I had always wanted to get my thoughts and emotions onto the paper and luckily my art teacher knew everything that had happened years prior, so I had to begin developing ideas of how I would portray it through drawings.

What’s your advice to students picking a subject with a major work or just starting to work on their project?

My advice to students would to be to pick a subject close to them, something that they will strive to complete and perfect. My second piece of advice would be to start early, don’t waste time because the last thing you want is to be stressed with bad time management.

What were the best and/or worst parts of the whole thing?

The best parts of the process were the times where I could just sit down and draw. Drawing brought a sense of freedom to myself and just being able to put my earphones in and draw for hours was one of the best feelings during Year 12.

The worst parts were the decisions. All the small things that people don’t really talk about. The paper choices, sizing choices, colour and tonal choices- it was the hardest and longest part of the process.

7. Charlie Cusack

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Charlie Cusack3

Can you describe your work?

My work is based around the Australian bush and how we are a part of nature as much as it is a part of us. I try single out the particular trees to represent nature and its beauty in just a singular tree.

How did you come up with the idea?

The idea came from trial and error of other ideas, some regarding nature and others focused on people. I decided to show parts of each of the ideas and relate it back to Australian culture and bushland.

What’s your advice to students picking a subject with a major work or just starting to work on their project?

I would recommend that you try a lot of different areas especially in art, take the time to try different mediums during your pre-HSC years and make sure it’s something you enjoy doing and not something you think will get the marks, because it will be a more rewarding and enjoyable experience in the end.

What were the best and/or worst parts of the whole thing?

The best thing about a major work is definitely the process of trial and error and also the mates you make along the way; you’ll be helping them, and they’ll be helping you and it becomes this small community. The hardest part is definitely when you hand it in and it goes off for marking, not because of the fear of marks but because my major work had become such a massive part of my life.

8. Violet Donnelly

Violet Donnelly9

Violet Donnelly5

vi

Can you describe your work?

24 graphite and white pencil drawings on brown stone henge paper showing different types of fidgets.

How did you come up with the idea?

After many different concepts, I finally decided on my ‘Idiosyncrasy’ body of work. I have always found human behaviour interesting and how everyone has different fidgets and ticks for when they are nervous, thinking, excited etc. And the only way I would be able to demonstrate this was through a collection of works in a strength of mine which is drawing.

What’s your advice to students picking a subject with a major work or just starting to work on their project?

Picking major subjects is a commitment and coming from experience of doing two majors (dance and art) time management is a key to a successful and rewarding outcome.

Go in with an open mind and I recommend looking at a few different concepts that are completely different and from there find your best fit. Challenge yourself but still be realistic and choose a concept that can be adapted so if you do get deep into it, changing it isn’t an impossible task.

What were the best and/or worst parts of the whole thing?

There was definitely a lot of ups and downs of my piece. After working all day on a piece, I realised I did it landscape instead of portrait. Another time I stupidly bit into an apple near my work and the juice went all over the piece.

But one of the best things was seeing all my friends come with their parents to our art-show, and getting their parents to guess who was who, as the work revolves around drawings of my classmates.

Big congrats to all these legends for such quality work! 👏👏👏

Got a major work you want to show off? Shoot us an email at socials@year13.com.au 🤙

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