Picturing The Future

'Realisation' (detail) by JCU Bachelor of Creative Media student Jessica O'Donnell

New exhibitions opening in Townsville are a common occurrence – and with so many local galleries to choose from, it’s no wonder that the variety on offer and the number of exhibitions opening is growing exponentially.

Also growing is the pool of local talent: over the next few months, our city will play host to exhibitions celebrating the next generation of creatives, with the annual JCU Graduate Exhibition, TAFE Emerging Artists Exhibition, Young Indigenous Printmakers Exhibition, ArtNOW Exhibition and Youth and Emerging Artists Exhibition all taking place in the space of eight weeks. In the lead-up to these exhibitions, we met two of our city’s emerging creatives worth keeping an eye on.

Cristina Rinaudo is studying a Bachelor of Creative Media (Media Design) at James Cook University.

“My art field is graphic design. Throughout my studies at JCU I’ve had the opportunity to explore different forms of design such as interactive, motion graphics, and print. I float around between visual mediums and specific styles because I am still learning, still discovering my style. But I guess I’ve got to start somewhere,” Cristina said.

“For me, studying at JCU being the first time I’ve lived in Townsville, there were some gaps in my knowledge of the local arts scene. Everyone probably sees the local arts scene differently and has experienced it differently.”

“For the Graduate Exhibition, I really want to challenge myself to create something better than I’ve ever done, something that gives people an idea of the work I like to create.

“I always used to find myself using the excuse that I’m too busy to go to any events. Nowadays I’m busier than ever with uni, but I’ve also changed my attitude. I found that being more involved in the local arts scene gives more context to my work. In addition to coming up with better ideas, it also just makes me happy to see and talk about art and have new experiences.

“I have seen many artistic opportunities in Townsville, however have only recently started pursuing opportunities such as PechaKucha nights, and started trying some freelance work. PechaKucha was an absolutely terrifying experience that really forced me to think about what I wanted from my degree and how I would want to experience artistic opportunities in the future. The most valuable lesson I learned was that I really did want to be involved with the arts in Townsville as much as possible. I want to try, and learn, and collaborate with other artistic people.

“As long as the Townsville arts scene keeps existing and evolving, I think people will be happy.”

Sonia Ward is studying a Bachelor of Visual Arts through TAFE North Queensland and the University of Canberra.

“I found researching a concept for a body of work very fulfilling. Initially, my work focused on family; but the more I studied and learnt, my new motivator became making a social commentary. Study became a way to learn how to make my work relevant in the wider community and tell a story using art as the message. Learning is something I have always enjoyed even in high school. TAFE has given me the opportunity to learn in a technological era, which is very different to my learning experience at school,” Sonia said.

“As for my work in the Emerging Artists Exhibition, viewers can expect a body of work which is fun and humorous.  I enjoy experimenting with different media and taking a multi-disciplinary approach, so plan on making 3D figures in cardboard, incorporating drawing into the work. The concept I have been researching is about the impact of toys and consumerism on creative play. The use of cardboard references the idea that children would rather play with the cardboard box than the toy inside. Recycled media, such as cardboard which is low cost or free, allows me to have fun and experiment.”

“When I’m not studying or creating art, I am looking for opportunities to be involved in creative projects or exhibitions.  I am passionate about bringing new art experiences to our region, having recently received a grant and brought Sydney-based recycled toy artist Freya Jobbins to Townsville.   I am a member and on the committee of several other groups, plus have four children, seven grandchildren and a husband who keep me occupied cooking, cleaning, playing, and laughing.  I like to share and make art with my grandchildren.

“There are many opportunities to exhibit in public spaces locally without having to pay a fee if you apply to Gallery Services for a community space. The Strand Ephemera and the Percival Portrait Awards attract lots of artists from outside of Townsville and are fabulous opportunities for selected local artists to also showcase work.

“There are also lots of opportunities to sell work locally at the Townsville Art Society shops and the Drill Hall, plus an abundance of markets. In fact, a visiting Sydney artist was quite surprised by the opportunities we have to exhibit for free, particularly at Perc Tucker Regional Gallery.  Cairns isn’t far away with the fabulous Tank Arts Centre; other small centres like Ingham and Charters Towers have annual awards and galleries to show work without the high commission fees of bigger centres. With advancing technology, everyone is connected – so there’s always opportunities to collaborate no matter where you live, and opportunities to sell online.

Catch exhibitions showcasing Townsville’s up-and-coming visual artists over the next few months:
Townsville Art Society Awards Exhibition |
Perc Tucker Regional Gallery | 1 – 24 Sep
ArtNOW Exhibition | Pinnacles Gallery | 9 Sep – 1 Oct
Youth and Emerging Artists Exhibition | Perc Tucker Regional Gallery | 29 Sep – 22 Oct
Young Indigenous Printmakers Exhibition | Umbrella Studio contemporary arts | 6 Oct – 12 Nov
JCU Graduate Exhibition | Pinnacles Gallery | 7 – 29 Oct
TAFE Emerging Artists Exhibition | Perc Tucker Regional Gallery | 27 Oct – 19 Nov

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