Gallery Experience Inspires

Ramp Gallery curator talks to Media Arts students about ‘The Bloggs’ by Nicola Jackson.

Media Arts summer school students have been wowed by Nicola Jackson’s “The Bloggs”. The exhibition – which explores human anatomy and the intersection between science, psychology and art history – is currently on show at Ramp Gallery.  The gallery is full to the brim with bright paintings, sculptures, furniture and objects, all crafted by Jackson in an immersive installation that becomes a walk-in ‘cabinet of curiosities’. The experience raised several questions amongst the class, who are studying visual arts practice, from “what is the artist influenced by?”, to “what are the sculptures made of” and “when can I see it again?”.   Following the gallery visit we asked the group to reflect on their experience and here’s what they had to say:

“It gave me ideas for my current project along with future things to think about regarding the utilisation of a gallery space.”

“It was super interesting to see the gallery without plain white walls and it let me know that you can do what you want, there are no restrictions. ”

“It has given me ideas to ruminate on and introduce to my work.”

“It has helped us think in a different perspective on art.”

“I learnt that I shouldn’t afraid to use so much colour. It’s OK to add or take away and make things your own.”

“It has given me ideas to ruminate on and introduce to my work.”

“This was the first time I’ve been to Ramp and it definitely won’t be the last.”

“Really good, unlike anything I’ve seen before.”

“It gave me a lot to think about regarding the presentation of my work.”

The Bloggs by Nicola Jackson is open at Ramp Gallery from the 22 Jan – 21 Feb, 2018 with an artist talk and closing party to come.

Nicola Jackson: The Bloggs was first shown at Dunedin Public Art Gallery from 18 Mar – 5 Jun, 2017.

You might be interested in:

Ramp Gallery is free to attend and open to all visitors from Monday to Friday 12:30 – 4pm, or by appointment.

Group or school bookings can be made by contacting

Sign up here to receive invitations to exhibition openings and gallery events directly to your inbox.

Ramp is proudly a Wintec space, and functions with the help of a fantastic team of Media Arts student and community volunteers. To become involved, email us at


Illustration tells the waka story

Illustration tells the waka story

Aspiring illustrator and third year Media Arts student, Juliann Smith, has produced visual interpretations of the Matariki Interactive Waka Project that is currently being developed. Explanatory and emotive illustrations of the sculpture in its proposed site show the structure’s relationship and connection to the Waikato’s people, landscape, and river. Working alongside Wintec tutor and PhD candidate, Joe Citizen, her involvement in the project has allowed Juliann to take on the role of a practising illustrator and contribute to the story of the Matariki Interactive Waka Project.

We recently caught up with Juliann to catch up on the growth of her illustration practice, latest collaboration, and her aspirations for the future.

Who are you and what do you do?

Juliann Smith. I am the youngest of four sisters. I am currently in my third year of the Bachelors of Arts degree majoring in painting at Wintec and plan on doing honours next year.

How do you work?

I almost always start with sketching in pencil. A lot of my work is representational, so I like to collect imagery; photos, videos, especially if the work has to be something specific like the illustrations I’ve been working on for the Matariki Waka Project.

Sketching details of the Interactive Waka Sculpture.

What themes do you pursue?

I am interested in the themes of nature and the relationship it has with us, humans. This comes out in various ways whether it’s drawings of animals and plants or more conceptual work.

This year I have also done a series of painting with themes exploring human nature as regards discrimination, and racial prejudice.

Why art?

Since I was 2, I have always drawn. What has influenced me the most to choose art is growing up reading children’s books. I was always attracted to the illustrations, and many of those artists that I grew up looking at are still some of my favourites (Robert Ingpen, Herge, Angela Barret)


Juliann completes a technical illustration explaining how the sculpture will operate on the site.

Can you tell us about your recent collaboration with The Matariki Waka Project?

This year I have been able to work with Joe Citizen to create illustrations of the Waka sculpture project. The pictures have ranged in purpose, from showing how the sculpture will look in it’s setting, to more informational and explanatory works describing some of the more technical aspects of the project in a way that makes them easier to understand.

What is your dream project?

At this point, I am still very open to the kind of projects I work on, but as I gain more experience, I have gained more understanding of the kind of work I am passionate about and the kinds that don’t fit so well. I think my dream project at this point will be to illustrate a book about something scientific but still very narrative based.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

Don’t wait till inspiration hits. Inspiration comes from doing.

Where to next?

The next big thing is the end of year show coming up in November. After that I’m looking forward to a post-graduate honours year,  and after that the big world and the big job of doing freelance illustration.

Huge thanks to Juliann for sharing her thoughts with us!

You can find out more about the Matariki Interactive Waka Project here and follow the Matariki Intercative Waka Project Facebook page to keep up to date with developments.

Ramp Gallery visit gives fashion students’ fresh perspectives

Ramp Gallery visit gives fashion students’ fresh perspectives
It’s been a busy few weeks for Artist Neda Nourmohammadi & Ramp Curator Wendy Richdale. Since the opening of Neda’s exhibition “Patiently, Insistently, Intensively” on 1 November, Wendy has seen the gallery alive with learning experiences. While teaching “History of Fashion”, Wintec tutor Rebekah Harman identified the themes of symbolism, cultural identity and politics present in Neda’s work. She brought her fashion students to Ramp to view the show and discuss the work with Neda where they made connections about  these themes and how they influence fashion.
We recently caught up with Rebekah to hear about her students’ experiences at Ramp Gallery, her thoughts on interdisciplinary education, and her fresh perspective in creative communication.

Was the show at Ramp Gallery directly related to your teaching papers at the time?

Reasonably, I was teaching a History of Fashion module and we had just finished looking at New Zealand culture and fashion, and were discussing cultural identity and communicating with other cultures. We discussed ideas around individual identity, then broadened it to looking at how we interpret other cultures. We considered what assumptions we make about other cultures and how cultural appropriation affects the fashion industry.

How did you interpret the content of the show and relate it back to your teaching area?

Particular parts of the show related well to the class including Neda’s use of motifs, symbols, fashion and colour in her work. Neda uses art to convey important messages about society and politics in Iran, during the Fashion History module students have been analysing historical fashion and learning how society, culture and politics can influence fashion and vice versa.

What do you think your students gained from their visit?

The students were interested in how different Iranian culture was to their own culture. One student commented that it highlighted just how important it is to really understand different cultures when designing, not to make assumptions based on popular media. The class was interested in how colours have different symbolism and meaning in different countries.

Do you think it’s important for students to view creative work from outside of their chosen discipline? Why?

I believe it’s very important for students to view creative work from outside their chosen discipline as it opens their eyes to different ways of seeing the world and in doing so gives them different tools to communicate with.

Ramp Gallery is hosting a relaxed conversation with artist Neda Nourmohammadi, about her current exhibition Patiently, Insistently, Intensively over coffee and biscuits this Monday 13 Nov, 12 – 1pm, 2017. All are welcome.

You can find out more about our Fashion pathways here.


Internship Provides Opportunity to Create

Internship Provides Opportunity to Create

Emerging graphic designer and soon-to-be graduate Kirstin McLachlan sought out an internship at just the right place. A tenacious student designer, Kirstin invested time looking for a suitable placement that would combine her love of art, with her ambition to gain real-world graphic design skills. After a lengthy search, all roads led to Creative Waikato – it was a perfect fit. Read on to hear about Kirstin’s internship experience, creative briefs, and her satisfaction when seeing her designs ‘driving around the Waikato’.

Who are you and what do you do?

I’m Kirstin McLachlan, lover of art and animals, I am currently in my third year of studying BMA Graphic Design at Wintec.

Can you tell us about the internship paper you are doing at Media Arts?
For the internship paper, I was required to go out and find a suitable placement for me to gain relevant experience. I found myself emailing various different design studios and advertising agencies with either no reply or a friendly ‘no’, but I wasn’t really sure what I was looking for. I emailed Creative Waikato asking if they might know of any graphic design internship opportunities in Hamilton and they ended up taking me on for themselves. So my internship experience as their in-house graphic designer.

Tell me about the goals of your internship at Creative Waikato?
Some of my goals were: To improve my time management, learn about working in a professional environment, apply my graphic design skills to real-life projects and gain experience working to a client brief.

During your internship you completed some design work for Creative Waikato, what was the most rewarding design challenge?
Creative Waikato gave me a few design projects, but the most personally rewarding project was the car branding.  They challenged me to create a design that would be cohesive with their existing branding, communicate who they are and to ‘not look corporate’ for their vehicle.

How did you resolve that challenge?
I tried out a few different design styles, I went to them with 3 draft ideas and luckily they chose my favourite idea, the doodles. They liked the idea of a not so typical ‘Kiwiana’ look you see a lot these days, and they liked how the expressive cute doodles portrayed the arts. I looked around their office for ideas and I was really inspired by Paul’s Creative Waikato map illustration that’s on their wall, I also googled a lot for reference material. If you look closely you can see a Moa, mountains,  kowhai trees, a tui, a hot air balloon, the list goes on. I even snuck in a cow udder and a cheeky gumboot.

It’s a thrill for Kirstin McLachlan to see her design on Creative Waikato’s vehicle.

What results did this piece achieve?
While creating this design I gained knowledge of working to a brief, but I also learnt how to express my creative style within the constraints. I learnt how to work closely with a signwriter which is something I had not done before. The idea of my designs driving around the Waikato was a little bit daunting at first but now that I can see it applied, it’s pretty cool.

Thanks to Kirstin McLachlan for sharing her learning experience with us and thanks to Creative Waikato for providing a challenging and productive creative internship for one of our students.

You can find out more about the course credit you gain when you undertake an internship at Wintec on our website.

Craig McClure – Arts Advocate, Curator and Creative

Craig McClure – Arts Advocate, Curator and Creative

Craig McClure is a Scottish born, Hamilton-based artist and versatile creative, best known for his character infused, comic-like paintings that are influenced by science fiction, technology and overheard conversations. In recent years Craig’s creative practice has merged into multiple roles – as arts advocate at Creative Waikato, a curator and as an artist, Craig says each role benefits the other.

We caught up with Craig at Calder and Lawson Gallery where he curated ‘True True’, an exhibition pulled together from his list of clients and peers, followed by a visit to his home studio. Read on to discover how Craig juggles the academic underpinnings of curatorial and research work along with a productive studio practice and an arts advocacy career.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself – you hold a few roles at the moment, how do they support each other?

I hold a few different roles, the roles as an artist and a curator are made up of lots of other supporting jobs.  I have a network of clients as well as peers. Curation can be rewarding and exciting, and I’m contributing to the end goal of a great exhibition. The research and writing for curating are the same as my art practice and it’s so important to my creative research. Curation is a great way for me to inform my art practice.

My day job at Creative Waikato is gratifying and worthwhile. Within the role, our team cover a vast region and support creatives, and their endeavours. We’re there to help them create successful projects within their field. Support we give includes marketing, funding and strategic planning.

You have completed an honours year in Media Arts at Wintec, what’s the value of having a network of people around you during your study?

It’s massive, it’s the most important thing. In my opinion, that’s what I was paying for, in the end. The most value I got  from my study was in the experience of community and working together. Having a studio among all the other students – that was gold, it was so fun too.

In your Honours year you are spending a lot of time on one major project, how did your tutors support you during that time?

I felt like I was asking a lot from them sometimes, but I knew they had the answers.  They made themselves available to me and it was quality time that I spent with them. For a few hours at a time, they would sit down with me and talk through what I was doing. Having three advisers was amazing and provided me with direction during my project.

Would you use a lot of research and theory in your curatorial work?

Yes, it’s so important, I use research and theory as a curator, and also as an artist.

How has your education made an impact on your life?

Following an art career, or an art path of education, you leave with this amazing ability to see the world differently, which is powerful and rewarding. The fact that you can look at the most mundane thing and somehow pull meaning out of it, it’s a gift.

Following an art career, or an art path of education, you leave with this amazing ability to see the world differently.  

Is there anything you are working towards at the moment? Any new exhibitions or projects on the horizon? What are you looking forward to?

I am working towards one main exhibition this year in November at Zeus Gallery in Tauranga, join the mailing list to keep updated. It will almost be all new work, paintings and drawings and some new 3D models I am working on.

I am working on Boon Street Art Festival 2018 and activating vacant commercial spaces in the CBD of Hamilton with some artistic innovation or as startup platforms for creatives and working towards more opportunities in Auckland with Colours Collective.

Can you list for us 5 specific resources (across any media) you tune in to regularly?

  1. I use Instagram more than any other social media platform. It’s perfect for visual artists, and with good hashtagging, you can broaden your reach and connect with other like-minded creatives.
  2. I use Youtube and Netflix to watch docos and nonsense. It’s really convenient, to say the least. Also, I like to work with a melting pot of culture and history, and Youtube is perfect for this.
  3. I attend regular openings at local galleries including Ramp gallery on Wintec’s city campus,  Wallace Gallery in Morrinsville and Skinroom in Frankton. Signing up to newsletters or following spaces on Facebook is a good way to stay in the loop.
  4. I read lots of books. Right now I am reading the God Delusion by Richard Dawkins after reading his book The Greatest Show on Earth.
  5. Finally, I listen to podcasts and music in the studio or in the car. I drive a fair bit to Auckland for shows and work. I’m currently listening to Sam Harris’s Waking Up podcast series and Guardians of the Galaxy playlist on Spotify – best soundtrack in ages!


Thanks to Craig for being so generous with his time and for sharing his home studio with us. If you don’t already, be sure to follow Craig on Instagram and of course head to his website to see more of his work. 

If you’re thinking about taking your creative practice to the next level, you can browse through our Honours and Master of Arts postgraduate study programmes.

Internship Opportunity for Etana Zaguri

Internship Opportunity for Etana Zaguri
After finishing her secondary school studies at Morrisville College, Etana Zaguri raced off to learn the craft of graphic design in the studios of Media Arts, Wintec. 
In her third year of study, Etana successfully applied for an intern position at AREA Design. During her internship, she’s been an integral part of this year’s Spark Festival design process. This diverse and inspiring learning experience has made a lasting impression on Etana’s creative practice and professional outlook toward the graphic design industry.

Where are you from originally? Did you study design in secondary school?
I’m from Morrinsville. I took all arts in High School and wanted to do art but then by the third year I didn’t do an art portfolio because I was just over it. It wasn’t what I wanted to do.
Graphics wasn’t available in my school; it was more architecturally focused.

How did you find out about Media Arts?
One of my friends was doing painting and sculpture at Media Arts, and I would always ask her about it and how it was going. She said that I would love it.

What has been the most significant part of your time here at Media Arts?

I think that teachers make a big impact!

Can you describe a typical graphic design lesson?
We will often sit down at the front of the classroom, and our teacher will give us a tutorial. We would then go back to our computers in pairs or by ourselves and to work through the task, or skills we had learnt from the tutorial.

Alan Deare and Etana Zaguri working at AREA Design HQ.

How did you get this internship with AREA design?
In the January holidays, my tutor Luke emailed me about an internship opportunity that had come up. If we wanted to do it, we were to let Luke know to then come in to do an interview. Yeah, I came in to do an interview, and then after meeting with Alan, he decided to give me a chance.

What did you first do in your internship role?
I did research.

Was it different from studying?
It was similar; I looked at visual, then type and layouts.

What skills have you developed during your internship?
Indesign, I know a lot more about that program. A few new photoshop skills like layers, to extend backgrounds and CMYK quad-tones.

The AREA Design studio where Etana completed her internship.

How have you found juggling the Internship and your study at Media Arts?

It’s been good, at the start I came in a couple of times while I was doing my assignments. But I nearly completed the whole thing in the Semester break.

Would you recommend other students to take up an internship opportunity?
Yeah, definitely! You get the knowledge of what happens in the real world, whereas when you are given a brief at tech, you have a lot more options compared to the reality.

A massive thanks go out to Etana for her contribution to the Spark Festival design. See it for yourself on our Spark Festival website.

Thanks to AREA design for imparting your wisdom onto our students and allowing them to gain significant insight into the graphic design industry. 

We pride ourselves on being connected with the creative industry in the Waikato region, find out more about our internship opportunities here.


Homegrown creative – Eliza Webster

Homegrown creative – Eliza Webster

Emerging Waikato artist and Media Arts graduate Eliza Webster is on our radar right now, she’s not just a painter but a truly versatile creative.  Her main area of study during her Bachelor of Media Arts was painting, but the 23-year-old artist has always found herself working on other creative side projects like civic initiatives, creative enterprise and curatorial work. Starting off her study career as a young engineering student in Auckland it wasn’t until a year and a half later Eliza decided to change paths. She is engaged in multiple creative collaborations and has become influential in the Waikato creative community.

Working out of her gallery studio in Frankton, where she co-runs the Skinroom Gallery, Eliza’s recent works are inspired by internet culture and she is showing them in a joint exhibit this month.

Data by Eliza Webster and Chelsea Peppercorn 
Opening Friday, July 21st at 6.00pm, and showing until August 5th
Level 1, 123 Commerce Street, Frankton Hamilton

What were you up to before starting your Media Arts study?

When I left school, I moved to Auckland to study a Bachelor of Engineering, majoring in Mechatronics Engineering at the University of Auckland. I completed a year and a half before I figured out that it wasn’t for me. So I dropped out and worked full time at a Backpackers bar, then moved to England for five or six months in January of 2014. When I came home, I went to see Sam Cunnane about potential art study (he was my teacher at Fraser High), and I ended up starting in the second semester of 2014.

Having returned to your hometown, can you explain how staying in Hamilton to study worked for you?

  1. I have a really wonderful support network of friends and family here (in Auckland I suffered from quite serious attacks of anxiety and depression due to over-work, over-study, under-sleep, and other environmental issues), so it was important that I look after myself and my mental health in an environment full of people I love.
  2. Auckland is so expensive and so dense. Hamilton has breathing room and cheaper rent.
  3. Promises of overseas opportunities through Wintec.
  4. Compact, friendly community of art people that want to see you succeed.
  5. Really knowledgeable tutors and fellow students at Wintec.
  6. Job opportunities within the arts community.
  7. An existing network of professional people that would be important in promoting my future business endeavours.
  8. I had spent the last two and a half years away from home, and it was nice to come back to something familiar (although you always get the post-travel blues, home grows on you, don’t worry, and there are always opportunities to move on to new things in the future).
  9. Hamilton has a really interesting growing community of young creative thinkers making their dreams into realities.
  10. The opportunity of starting a business with an industrial lease on a building is much easier to do in Hamilton than in any other bigger New Zealand city. The market is open for creative enterprise here, lots of opportunity for growth.

Hamilton has a really interesting growing community of young creative thinkers making their dreams into realities.  

How did the Bachelor of Media Arts improve your skill set?

The Bachelor of Media Arts gave me, unintentionally, a really good understanding of a lot of contemporary art history. When the tutors encourage you to look at artist models to contextualise your work, you’re really getting to understand the genre that your artwork fits into.

What was your favourite student brief?

I really enjoyed the colour theory brief in VAP1. But I think I enjoyed the Audience Message Context group assignment the most. I was lucky enough to be a part of an awesome group of people with their own personalities and ideas that all fit together quite well. We ended up staging an exhibition about pollutant waste called “Rat Trap” in the courtyard on Nisbet St, it has since been cordoned off for safety reasons, but it was my first real experience at curating a site specific exhibition.

Tell us about some of your recent work: setting up Skinroom and your role as a curator at Wallace Gallery. You keep busy!


Skinroom started off as a Summer School project in the end of 2015. I’d discussed previously with Geoff Clarke that I had the intention to curate a couple of small exhibitions in pop-up spaces in town, like in empty retail spaces. I was living in Frankton at the time and was walking around looking for spaces and came across the Skinroom building on Commerce Street. It looked like it was empty so I Googled the address and arranged a viewing. Geoff came along, and we agreed to go into business as a gallery together. We signed the lease and got to work renovating the inside. The space had been used previously as a tattoo shop but had been empty for years. We found just piles of stuff, old tattoo needles, bits of old flash, a photocopier (broken), a huge kiln (available if anyone wants it), a safe (that we still haven’t got into), fishing rods and a 1980s dentist char. A group of very dedicated, wonderful friends spent 3 months cleaning the space out, bogging holes, painting walls, learning how to lay concrete, building walls and making the building more secure. Our first exhibition opened in February 2016. The show was a conglomeration of Hamilton art talent, both emerging and established artists exhibited, and the support was incredible, we had the most amazing turnout. Skinroom has been open for a year and a half now, we’ve exhibited 21 shows, and the support from the local community is still really present, and we are very thankful for that.

Wallace Gallery:

I applied for a position at Wallace Gallery Morrinsville about a month before I found out that I had been accepted as a part of a group of 6 students from Wintec to travel to Chengdu, China under the Prime Minister’s Scholarship for Asia. I thought I was a wee bit under qualified, but I’d had a bit of experience in curating, and admin at Skinroom, so I gave it a go. I found that I had been accepted for the role, and had to tell Justin (Morgan) that I couldn’t take it because I was leaving to China. Unbelievably, they held the job for me for 6 months while I finished my degree in Chengdu, and I’ve now been the assistant curator/administrator at the Wallace Gallery in Morrinsville for almost 5 months. Just recently I curated an exhibition here entitled The Shape of Things to Come, a show of Wintec graduate work as a look into what happens after art school, and to demonstrate that the end of art school doesn’t mean the end of making art.

I’m also currently studying towards a Masters degree in Cultural and Creative Practice at AUT in Auckland, and have been asked to curate the gallery space at the front of the meteor Theatre on Victoria Street.



What’s your #1 piece of advice for a new Media Arts student?

I’d say treat everything that you do for an assignment as a piece of professional work. If you’re making the work anyway, why not make it to a standard that you can exhibit it and potentially make some cash while you study, or start getting your name out there. You’re studying a degree in Media Arts hopefully because you’d like to continue to work in the creative sector after you graduate, use your time at tech to meet people who you can work with in the future, and treat everything you make as if it’s a direct reflection of you. Go big, too – while you’ve got the facilities.

Big thanks to Eliza for sharing her story with us. Head to the Skinroom to view Eliza’s latest show and find her on her Instagram page for regular updates.

If reading Eliza’s story has left you feeling inspired then come along for a tour of our campus where you can learn more about studying Media Arts at Wintec.


Spark Festival Identity with Area Design and One Man Crew

Spark Festival Identity with Area Design and One Man Crew

Alan Deare of Area Design has worked on the identity for Spark Festival since 2012. In recent years the design process has included collaboration with creatives from a range of disciplines. This year’s design features some beautiful, unreleased typography by attending speaker Kris Sowersby of Klim Type Foundry.

In previous designs, the abstract visual motif signified the diversity of speakers attending Wintec’s Spark Festival. This year the motif remains but has morphed into a new dimension – 3D. With the help of motion graphics/filmmaker Murdoch Daly of One Man Crew, some abstract animation is used to create some “thumb-stopping” visual identities for the campaign’s social media promotion. The pair visited our Wintec campus and talked us through their collaborative process.

We spoke with 5 graphic design students after the industry talk and here’s what they had to say:

  1. The talk made me want to learn more about 3D modelling.
  2. It was great to see how you don’t always get it right the first time.
  3. I liked seeing that even industry pros go through tests that may fail/ clients won’t always like it right away.
  4. Type faces are important for feeling and ambience of an end product.
  5. “Media-bites’ and ‘Thumb-stoppers’ are words I want to incorporate into my graphic design vocabulary.

Massive thanks to Alan Deare and Murdoch Daly for your industry talk. Discover more about them and their work on their websites Area Design and One Man Crew. Find out more about the design agency Klim Type Foundry here.

Spark International Festival of Music, Media, Arts & Design, is an annual celebration of the creative industry from journalism, commercial music, design to visual arts. The four-day festival is coming up in August, 14-17th. The festival is free to attend and open to all, you can find the programme online here. Be sure to follow the Spark Festival social channels to see the #SPARK17 identity in action.