Oxygen College’s Diploma of Visual Arts is helping to develop local artists’ confidence

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Oxygen College’s Diploma of Visual Arts is helping to develop local artists’ confidence

After three long years of planning and for the first time in 2017, Geelong’s Oxygen College will be running a nationally accredited full time course for Visual Arts.

The Diploma of Visual Arts will be dedicated to developing visual artists’ confidence, extending their creative practice and preparing them for making and exhibiting their own artwork.

Forté had a chat to local artist Glen Smith, who is heading up the diploma of Visual Arts at Oxygen College.

Hi Glen, thanks for taking the time to chat with Forte, how are you and what are you up to at the moment?
No problem thanks for the opportunity. Yeah life is good, I am working hard getting the diploma ready for next year and I have just recently had a solo exhibition at Boom Gallery. I still have three group shows to work on between now and the end of the year.

It’s exciting that you’ll be teaching the visual arts diploma, how did you come to working with Oxygen College?
Back in 2014, I was invited to come aboard to advise and assist in developing some of the college’s art based certificate courses. From that point, we successfully created several courses and this lead to a decision to push towards delivering a diploma of visual art. It was the magnitude of this aspect that lead to me working over at Oxygen in a nearly full time capacity to ensure that we did the diploma course justice.

What do you get out of the teaching process? Do the students ever inspire new works from you?
I really enjoy opening people’s eyes and minds to what they can achieve with their art making. It is very rewarding to see students push through with your guidance, and then suddenly get to a point where you can see the satisfaction on their faces as they finish an artwork. It terms of students inspiring myself, it isn’t evident in a particular artwork as such, but rather in the approach where I always try to maintain the energy and sense of exploration that comes with beginning to investigate artistic avenues.

Given you’ve got such a great standing in the arts community, what kind of contacts and benefits do you bring to the course?
I feel the benefits of a long standing practice is what I bring to the table. I have exhibited in most of the galleries around greater Geelong, and I know the majority of arts industry personal in the town. My goal is to help students make the right contacts for them, and hopefully share my experience so they don’t have to make the mistakes I have made along the way. The end goal is to basically fast-track students to move toward having a sustainable arts practice.

With your knowledge, what are the techniques and styles that you’re seeing coming from artists? Will any of these be touched on in the course?
The styles and techniques of students coming through Oxygen is pretty diverse ranging from younger students influenced by manga, through to others with an interest in traditional painting skills. As a course, the Diploma of Visual Art will focus on painting, drawing and printmaking. We will teach traditional skills as a starting point and will combine this with units where students have complete creative control over the theme, style and approach. My view is that you teach traditional skills to underpin your art making and then allow students the choice to apply them or not to, based on their desired results.

What do you think is the best thing an emerging artist can get out of studying?
I think the three best aspect of studying for an emerging artist are time to develop their artwork, guidance and support from experienced trainers and working with other peers to develop a network and sounding board for gaining feedback and encouragement. Plus, it is a lot of fun studying art!

The Diploma of Visual Arts begins in February 2017

Applications are open now

Call 1300 195 303 or email Oxygen College for more information at their website