Bachelor of Visual Arts student Chanel Taylor is no stranger to study. Having completed a Bachelor of Psychology (Honours) at the University of Otago and then continuing on to do a PhD in Neuroscience, a degree in Visual Arts may seem an unexpected path, however Chanel has managed to integrate her scientific and artistic approaches to life.
In her third year of the Visual Arts degree, Chanel will graduate at the end of 2017. Her short-term goal is to get a job and continue her art practice, one that sits between Art and Science.
Choosing to study at Southern Institute of Technology (SIT) was a decision propelled by the attractiveness of the Zero Fees scheme and not having to add an extensive student loan to the one she had acquired from previous study. Chanel’s family are also in Invercargill, she is familiar with the city and has ties to it from growing up here.
to Invercargill from extensive experience elsewhere, including working in the sciences as a post-doctoral research fellow at the University of Oxford and the University of Otago, Chanel has also worked at the Queensland Brain Institute in Brisbane, researching the molecular mechanisms of memory, learning and stem cell activation in the brain. Using her background to her advantage, Chanel has been able to incorporate her science experience into her art practice.
“My art practice sits within a domain called ArtScience, where the arts and sciences are blended together. My artwork is about climate change and incorporates aspects of science.”
Answering a question Chanel provokes in people who know her background, she explains that she chose to do the Bachelor of Visual Arts because she wanted to pursue her creative side and become more immersed in the arts.
“By studying a degree in the arts, I thought I would learn more, and in a much quicker time frame than just pottering away on my own.”
Eager to learn as much as she could on commencement of the course, she has put her all into it and has enjoyed the experience immensely.
“I love my course. We have been taught so much. I have taken papers in different art media, such as drawing, painting, printing, sculpture, digital media, and photography. At the same time, we are taught art history, research and theory. I have increased my skills, acquired so much knowledge, and have also gained confidence in my art practice. Our tutors are extremely knowledgeable, and they know their material very thoroughly. They are also really encouraging and supportive.”
Having such an open mind and boldly deciding to change careers has allowed Chanel to broaden her knowledge in more ways than she expected.
“Studying the Arts has made me much more receptive to the things going on around me, as well as in the wider world. My opinions about these things have also become stronger, and I am able to funnel this into my artwork. I also have a much greater understanding of the Art field. I am more aware of the history of art, art theory, and practice-based research.”
The best things about studying at SIT as conveyed by Chanel, would be that it is almost free under the Zero Fees scheme, the tutors are amazing and the classes are small, which means that classmates become friends and are able to receive much more individual attention.
“The hardest thing I have experienced during my time at SIT is finding my voice as an artist. I am still on this journey but I have a much clearer idea about what I want to make art about, and how. Our tutors are very good at asking hard questions to push us further, and in doing so, we learn more about who we are as artists.”