Travelling in Style: Media Arts Team Take Thailand

Travelling in Style: Media Arts Team Take Thailand

For nine Media Arts students, life in the tertiary lane has left a desirable lasting impression – one that can be carried close through the remainder of their studies and beyond.  Aspiring creative Emma Ayson visited Thailand from July 2-10, alongside eight fellow course-mates and two tutors, as part of the Bachelor of Media Arts Fashion Design pilot pathway. Wintec’s partnership with the Thailand Institute of Fashion Research (UTK) opened the door to their study tour, which showed them how the Eastern fashion industry operates and introduced them to a scale of factories and practices foreign to New Zealand soil.

Emma recently spoke with us about what the trip entailed, the ways in which it’s changed her perception of the fashion industry, and how it’s helped to shape her desired career pathway.

How was the daily itinerary organised? Did you all have to stick to a busy schedule from day one, or was it quite relaxed?

Our days were pretty jam-packed – we would meet in the lobby most mornings around 8am, jump on the bus, and wouldn’t return until after 6pm. For the first couple of days we had a schedule to stick to because we were visiting factories, but toward the end of the trip, it was more relaxed.

Were you based in Bangkok for the majority of the trip? What other destinations did you visit in Thailand? Which was your personal favourite and why?

For the majority of the trip we were based in Bangkok, but for the more touristy side of things, we travelled a little out of the city. On one of our last days, after we had visited all the factories, we went to Ayutthaya where we rode elephants and visited the Wan Mahathat, which is an ancient Buddhist temple. Personally, I just loved the whole thing – being immersed in the culture.

I just loved the whole thing – being immersed in the culture.  

Tell me about the factories and other fashion-related destinations you visited throughout the trip – what stood out to you most and why?

We visited factories that specialised in lingerie, men’s shirts and leather, shirts, woven textiles, and traditional-style silk. We also went to a fabric market, garment manufacturers sourcing expo, the Support Arts and Crafts International Centre of Thailand (SACICT), and an indigo dying workshop and trend forecasting class at UTK.

One of my favourite parts would have to be the Thai textile visit, as we got to see how the fabric was made from beginning to end, from raw cotton to woven fabric. It was such an amazing opportunity to see this as we don’t have anything like it in New Zealand.

Did your initial expectations of the trip differ a lot from the actual experience you got? If so, how?

A major thing that stood out to me would be the hospitality from UTK. I’m not going to lie, I was pretty nervous about travelling to a foreign country, but we had students from UTK with us everywhere we went. They made sure we were safe, helped us with anything we needed, and we just great company. I don’t think our Thailand trip would have been as great an experience if it wasn’t for them – and from it we have gained awesome friendships. We had students from UTK with us everywhere we went. They made sure we were safe, helped us with anything we needed, and we just great company. I don’t think our Thailand trip would have been as great an experience if it wasn’t for them – and from it we have gained awesome friendships.

What has the trip taught you about the fashion industry? Has it changed the way you perceive it, and how you intend to use your degree career-wise?

I’ve learned that the fashion industry is a lot bigger than I thought. The international side of it has a very big outcome on the fashion world, and I have probably only seen a small part of it. I know I have a lot more to see and learn. In terms of my future career, I have gained knowledge about the industry that I can use for my benefit, to help grow my career. I’ve learned that the fashion industry is a lot bigger than I thought. The international side of it has a very big outcome on the fashion world, and I have probably only seen a small part of it. I know I have a lot more to see and learn.

What was it like coming from a Western society, with predominantly westernised fashion norms, and entering an eastern one? What were the similarities and differences that stood out to you?

I have a newfound love for Eastern fashion. They are not afraid to play around and manipulate design to create interesting shapes and silhouettes. Many Thai women take a lot of pride in their appearance.

A slight difference I noticed was, in the bathrooms, the women weren’t ashamed of checking themselves out and spending time in front of the mirror to maintain their appearance. In New Zealand, women don’t tend to do the type of appearance maintenance I saw in Thailand, in public view.

Did you know what to expect in terms of Thailand’s manufacturing conditions/practices and general fashion culture? Did anything shock or surprise you?

We were told the factories we would be visiting were nicely run, and they were. From what I could see, the staff were well looked after and the work spaces were clean and tidy. Something that I was surprised about was that WACOAL (the lingerie company) are very environmentally friendly.

Do you feel your own perception of the fashion world has been diversified by this experience? How so?

The trip has definitely opened my mind to the sheer scale of opportunities that come with working internationally.

What pathway in the fashion industry do you intend to take? Do you see yourself working nationally or internationally in the future? Has the trip influenced this?

Eventually, I would like to have and run my own fashion label. I can see myself working with international businesses – this trip has helped me see that there are more design opportunities overseas, as they have the tools, equipment and scale that we simply don’t have in New Zealand.


What’s the main thing you’ve learned from this experience, in relation to your studies?

I’ve learned that there are a lot more opportunities out there than I once thought.

Emma would like to give a massive thank you to everyone who was involved in making the trip possible, and we would like to thank Emma for sharing her experience with us.

Head to our website to find out more about Wintec’s Bachelor of Media Arts, Fashion Design.


Homegrown creative – Eliza Webster

Homegrown creative – Eliza Webster

Emerging Waikato artist and Media Arts graduate Eliza Webster’s 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.


Tonga Robertson – Student Profile

Tonga Robertson – Student Profile

Soon-to-be interior design graduate and mother-of-three Tonga Robertson leads a busy life, but she knows exactly what she wants to achieve, and believes her family plays a big part in motivating her to strive for success.

I caught up with Tonga in her home to chat about what’s driven her to pursue a career in the Media Arts industry, and the exciting projects she’s been working on as an intern. Tonga shares a few pearls of wisdom about keeping both eyes on the prize, as a student and mother with a dream to collaborate and create.

What inspired you to pursue a career in interior design?

I wanted to do something creative, but I’m also a real people person – I love working with people. A few years back I initially thought I’d get into something like midwifery or nursing, but I kind of knew I always wanted to do something creative on the side. Interior design has that good combination of working with people – clients, tradies, and others in the industry – as well as having that creative outlet. I wanted to do something creative, but I’m also a real people person – I love working with people

For those who know little about the industry, what exactly does interior design involve?

Traditionally, a lot of people thought that interior designers would just go in and make someone’s house really pretty – which makes me cringe because we do way more than that!

An interior designer will work alongside say a client or a builder, or maybe an architect or engineer, and an architect will do a drawing for a new house, for instance. As an interior designer, I will design the interior space of it all – what the kitchen will look like, what sort of benches will go in the kitchen, what the cupboards will look like – I will also design the flooring, the furniture and where things are placed inside the house. You can also get into other aspects of styling, joinery, textile and commercial design. It’s such a varied job, and that makes it really fun, because you can find something that might be your niche and you can do that and make money. I think that’s why I love interior design so much; it’s such a varied field. It’s an awesome career.

I think that’s why I love interior design so much – it’s such a varied field.

When you graduate and enter the industry do you see yourself working for a company or on your own as a freelancer?

Once I finish studying full-time, for me the dream is to be my own boss and start up my own interior design company. In saying that, I still feel like I’ve got so much more to learn – so my ideal outcome once I’ve finished studying is to work for somebody part-time, and still be able to build up my own design business on the side. I’m getting so many opportunities at the moment that it’s really promising.


Can you tell me about the projects you’re currently interning for?

At the moment, I’m working for a local builder here in Hamilton, and his business has exploded. The current job I’m working for with him is a new build out in Greenhill. The house is about 300 sq. m, it’s a relatively big house. I’m designing this cabin-log house inspired home, and the client has some really interesting quirks. He has a statue he’s made of his deceased wife, which he’s asked me to design a stand for,

and it’s located in a special area in the house. That’s really cool, you don’t often get to build a shrine for somebody.

I’m working on another project for a client in Whatawhata. They’ve got a garage that was converted into a flat and they’re wanting to turn it into a B&B. It’s a full interior fit-out – new kitchen, new bathroom, new flooring and walls – and then for the main house for the same client, we’re looking at putting in a new kitchen, new bathroom, new floors and slightly changing the floor-plan so we can put in doors that open up to a deck.

Also, the builder I’m working with has a container house project, which is really cool because I’m into sustainable living. I also love the idea of living in a small space because it really challenges you to live with just what you need, and it helps you get rid of the excess that we can often consume in this time. So, I’m working on a container house project where I guess the challenge is trying to fit what you need into such a small, narrow space. That’s really fun, I’m really loving that at the moment.


What has it been like studying full-time with a young family?

Studying full-time with a young family is a lot of work. I’m really grateful that I’ve got an amazing husband who’s very supportive. Often on crazy end of the semester, I’d pick up the kids, drop them off, my husband would feed them and bathe them and I’d be going straight back to school to keep working on assignments. The great thing is that I know what I want to do and I haven’t got time to muck around. I’ve got a family that relies on me, so it ends up becoming my motivation, and it gives me the perseverance to get it done.

If you could give a piece of advice to someone who’s in a similar position to yours, with a young family and a creative ambition, what would that be?

I think it’s essential to understand what it is that you want because that gives you so much more motivation and conviction to go out and get it. When you’re in-between it’s tough to focus on something and get it done, especially when pressure and deadlines come at you. I think you should find something that you’re passionate about, find something that you’re gonna love, and do it. There’s always going to be sacrifices, but just understand that the dream – if it is a dream – is worth chasing.

I think it’s vital to understand what it is that you want because that gives you so much more motivation and conviction to go out and get it.

The studying time is only a short season, and there is an end to it. The end opens up a wide range of possibilities. To me, that’s the dream – finishing this course and looking at my options. Keeping that dream in your mind while you’re going through the assignments, the deadlines, the expectations, and the pressure – keep reminding yourself of that dream, and that will hopefully push you toward the finish line.

A big thank you to Tonga, for sharing her time and thoughts. Find more information about Wintec’s Diploma in Interior Design here.

Let’s Get It with Ahsin Ahsin

Let’s Get It with Ahsin Ahsin


With distinctive patterns and neon hues, Ahsin Ahsin’s mixed media paintings are vibrant, energy-filled and entertaining – it’s no wonder he has work showing in exhibitions all over town. 
Having started his Media Arts Degree with a focus on design, it wasn’t until a few years ago Ahsin tried his hand at painting. Working across a variety of different surfaces, the scale of his work varies from tiny to extremely large. Much of his exploration in scale and texture can be attributed to multiple critiques and creative briefs he has received while studying Media Arts at Wintec. Ashin has met a network of artists and creatives while studying at Wintec and they help keep his momentum up.  This supportive community fosters a productive environment where the artists are driven to create. The 24-hour studio access at Media Arts Wintec helps too!

Ahsin’s exhibition Let’s Get It opened last week at The Skinroom Gallery and will be on show until 14 July. Ahsin also has another exhibition entitled Limbo, showing now at Wallace Gallery Morrinsville.

How long did it take to get ready for this show? 

It took me a couple of months to prepare; I was getting ready for the show while doing my tech work. I worked on my painting assignments for Media Arts and this work has already been assessed. I can use all my assignments outside of tech and incorporate them into a show that I will exhibit.


Where have you created these large works?

The X block studios at Media Arts Wintec. The Media Arts facilities have 24-hour access, the studio spaces have allowed me to create work larger. The studios are great; we’re pretty lucky. I spend too much time in there, it’s a place where I’m not distracted by time, I’m usually in the studios late.


Can you describe what is important to you and your creative practice? How has Media Arts helped support the development of your work?

I’m hanging out a lot more with artists and creatives, most of my network of friends and supporters are ones I’ve met through Media Arts Wintec. Most of them were there when I first started and they have left now, but we still keep in contact. Being around like minded people is hugely important. It’s important to have those people around me to take in advice; I also get my friends outside of Wintec to view my work with fresh eyes, my brother sometimes, that is hugely important as well.
Often I work on a painting where I’m almost finished but I’m not happy with it and I end up painting over it, people freak out when I do that, but it’s all part of the process. I’ve been working on collage paintings for a while now, that started last year. It does take a few months for each large painting and I just chip away at it, I usually work on a few paintings at a time. While that one’s drying I can work on another.


You have some large and small works in this show on a variety of canvases, do you have preferences when it comes to scale and material?
When I started out painting I was intimated by big works, one of the papers I was doing, we had to do a big piece that got me out of my comfort zone – you do use more materials! I like working on any surface that’s smooth and not slippery. I worked on billboard material before and that stuff is really slippery you need to chuck on a few layers.

Often I work on a painting where I’m almost finished but I’m not happy with it and I end up painting over it, people freak out when I do that, but it’s all part of the process.

Have you built your own frames and canvases for the show?

Yes, we make them at tech, they teach you how to make them, how to stretch a canvas.  It’s way cheaper while you’re studying rather than going out and buying it.

What are you working on next?

Just carrying on painting – a lot more painting! I still feel like it’s not enough. Hopefully, I will work on another mural soon, being involved in the Boon Street Festival really made an impact on me. I’m doing an illustration project next semester, so I will just keep pushing it. I want to try my hand at everything, moving paintings and animation would look pretty cool.

Ahsin Ahsin in his Media Arts studio.


Let’s Get It by Ahsin Ahsin
Open 30 June until 14 July
Skinroom Gallery
Level 1, 123 Commerce Street, Frankton, Hamilton

Limbo by Ahsin Ahsin
Open 1st July until 30 July
Wallace Gallery Morrinsville Flexi-Space
Level 1, 123 Commerce Street, Frankton, Hamilton

Thanks to Ahsin Ahsin for taking the time to meet, and massive congratulations from us on the opening of your exhibitions! Be sure to check out his shows “let’s Get It” and “Limbo” at The Skinroom Gallery and  Wallace Gallery Morrinsville in person. Follow Ahsin’s creative process on Instagram.

Find out more about our Bachelor of Media Arts (Visual Arts) here or come check out our visual art studios in person by booking a tour here.


From Psychology to Journalism with Ruby Nyika

From Psychology to Journalism with Ruby Nyika
Having finished her Science degree majoring in Psychology in Wellington, Ruby wondered, what’s next? She yearned for a job with more creativity.  After moving back to her hometown of Hamilton she searched for a course that would allow her to pursue her writing passion. Ruby enrolled in Wintecs’ Diploma in Journalism, a full-time 1-year course at Media Arts and began training as a writer and journalist from day one. As part of the intern programme at Media Arts Ruby has worked at Hamilton News and is currently placed at the Waikato Times
Read on to learn more about Ruby’s story. She discusses her experience at Media Arts and life as a student in her hometown, along with some career advice to those seeking a new direction. 
Can you describe your educational background, what are your previous qualifications? 
 Straight after high school at Hamilton Girls’ High, I moved to Wellington where I completed a Bachelor of Science majoring in Psychology with a minor in English Literature at Victoria University. I had intended to study post-graduate Psychology too.
Can you tell us about what you are studying at the moment, what attracted you to this course?
 I’m studying the National Diploma of Journalism with Wintec, which is a one-year course full of practical and relevant experience. 
Before that, I was pretty chuffed to score a dull but (relatively) well-paid job at a bank. But despite being surrounded by a bunch of cool colleagues I ended up utterly miserable there. It was a bit of a dead-end job and I wanted a career. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do but knew that I wanted it to involve writing because it’s what I love to do. I started fantasizing about a career in journalism and the more I thought about it, the more impossible it became not to do just go ahead and do it. My family lives in Hamilton so I just googled Hamilton courses, applied and taa-da!


After living in Wellington for four years, you have moved back to Hamilton to live, has this been a good move? Can you tell us why?
 It has been an incredible move and I’m back in my hometown which is awesome. I’ve moved back in with my Mum so I’m very lucky there.  Quitting my job and studying journalism is probably one of the best decisions I’ve made. Even though I’m studying, I already feel like a journalist and I feel like I’m finally doing something that gets me excited week to week. The course is so practical, dynamic and you get to meet a lot of interesting people!  It’s been an exciting taste of what a career in journalism would be like. It’s such a cliché but seriously – life is too short. Do something that pushes your buttons. 

It’s such a cliché but seriously – life is too short. Do something that pushes your buttons.

You are midway through your diploma, can you describe Media Art’s approach to teaching and learning? How has it worked for you and your learning style? 
 I love, love, love Media Art’s teaching style. At Uni, it was a lot of theoretical stuff, a lot of essay writing and exams. Here, I already feel like what I’m studying to be, I already feel like a journalist.  It’s very practical and everything is designed to introduce you to the career that you want. The teachers are genuinely determined to help you be the best you can be and they help you with your individual goals, rather than just ticking off general course requirements. And our entire class is so supportive of one another, we all just want to see each other do well.
Also – it doesn’t feel like we’re just being taught to be standard journalists. We’re being taught to be top-notch, five-star, ace journalists. It has been challenging…but worthwhile things need to be challenging!  To be honest- I would say I’ve been challenged more in these last four months than in my entire three-year university degree. 
Can you tell us your most enjoyable experience on the course so far?
 Hmmm that’s a hard one. I really enjoyed profiling this inspiring volunteer as one of our course assignments. She was just such a quality human being and it felt like a privilege to write about someone like that. It was also a standout because it taught me that literally everyone has a story and my job needs to be to dig up the ones worth telling.
Ruby interviews artist Nell about her exhibition for the upcoming Spark Festival
Is it true that your grandfather collects clippings of all your published articles?
 Yes. I hadn’t got my hands on any copies of my published stories at one stage, although Gramps had mentioned that he had seen them in the paper. He was in the hospital a few weeks ago and I was in his room picking up clothes for him when I stumbled across this noticeboard in there covered in a bunch of clippings of my articles! It was a warm fuzzy moment.
Can you describe how it feels to have your work published given that you are still learning your craft? Does this help you develop your skills faster, does is keep you more engaged? 
It gives you such a high to see your own stories on a news site or in the paper.  It’s also very encouraging and it’s way easier to stay engaged when I know there’s a chance that my course work could make it to a bigger platform. It does mean there’s some extra pressure on the quality and standard of reporting which of course, can’t be a bad thing. Working to an actual publishable standard half the year in (although credit where it’s due, we’re lucky to have supportive editors at Wintec that talk us through any screw ups) emboldens me. It gives me confidence that I’m chasing a career that I could do well in if I put in the hard yards.  

Also – it doesn’t feel like we’re just being taught to be standard journalists. We’re being taught to be top-notch, five-star, ace journalists.

Where do you hope to be 2-3 years from now?
Studying psychology has left me with some interest in health so I’d love to score a job specialising in health reporting. I’d also love to be a feature writer. Long term I hope to be an “in-demand” freelance feature writer with jobs coming out of my ears!
Finally, can you describe the culture at Media Arts using five keywords:

Stimulating, challenging, supportive, dynamic, inspiring

Big thanks to Ruby Nyika for meeting with us and giving us such honest and inspiring responses. Follow Ruby on Twitter and read her stories on our Media Arts student newspaper The Waikato Independent.
If you are like Ruby and already have a degree and you’re wondering what’s next, view our one-year graduate diploma options here.

Mark Peter – Student Profile

Mark Peter – Student Profile

Mark Peter has been a Media Art student for four years. In that time he’s developed skills in design, motion graphics, painting and sculpture to name a few.

Mark was a recipient of the Prime Minister’s Scholarship for Asia and spent five months in China attending Chengdu University as part of Wintecs’ tertiary exchange programme. Mark says his experience in China regularly influences his creative practice – he’s inspired by Chinese culture, architecture and the city’s prolific construction.

His work combines a set of ideas that explore shape, line and distortion using a variety of standard, readily available materials. Mark is submitting his final body of work for his Media Arts Degree and ending on a high note with his exhibition, “A Rhombus Is My Favourite Crooked Square,” showing at SkinRoom Gallery. (Open 20-22 June)


You received the Prime Minister’s Scholarship for Asia to attend Chengdu University in China last year, can you tell us what you did there and the length of the student exchange?
I was in China for five months, and there were six of us. We were students of Chengdu University in their Design and Art centre. There were Chinese language classes that we also attended. The hardest thing for me was keeping up with the busy schedule at the school, and there was a class every day. We worked alongside Chinese students, who focused on a lot of digital art, illustration, product and print based design.

How did you find the tutors at Chengdu University, was the language barrier a challenge?
The teachers did help us, they took us on field trips and took us to see local artists. One teacher was an award winning local artist, well known in the province, it was pretty cool to be taught by her. We took Chinese language classes so that helped with the language barrier.

Where did you stay when you were attending Chengdu University?
We got lucky, and we stayed in these teachers apartments that were in a 30 story building. It was neat to experience living in an entirely different way. The architecture and housing are completely different to New Zealand’s.


Your trip to Chengdu University in China marked a turning point in the way you have been making art, can you describe how that came about?
I was messing around with what little materials I had, paper and cheap acrylics. I started playing around with mark making using one continuous line, and the Chengdu University tutors liked it.
The work in this show (A Rhombus Is My Favourite Crooked Square) is the first body of work that has been inspired by my surroundings. When I was visiting China, I was alarmed with the continuous construction happening over there. Everywhere we went there was construction, building, loud hammering and development. I liked that I was drawing inspiration from my environment and not by using an artist model.

It started with this idea of objects and distorting the perspective, is it square or is it not square?

From the works on paper I began experimenting with objects and changing the perspective, is it square or is it not square? If I can distort this in the painting, then I can modify the frame as well. I had a set of ideas that continuously had me exploring different ways of working and using different materials. How much can I warp this to turn this into a new shape? During the process, none of my canvases matched up, but I embraced the organic process of making which has ended up with some surprising outcomes where some delicate curves in the canvas have formed.

What is the most memorable experience you have taken away from your student exchange trip to China?
It’s always difficult to pinpoint the ‘yay’ moment; I think the most challenging thing was the travel, you have to plan your day thoroughly beforehand to get from one space to another, this is something I learnt the hard way! At the end of our study, we had a week to explore, and I planned a trip to fly to another city by myself to visit a friend I had met in Chengdu. Yeah, you’ve got to be early, I missed both my flights there and back, it was a learning curve. But luckily at this point, I had enough Chinese vocabulary to order food and find my way around. The surprising thing to me was that a lot of Chinese locals new basic English they helped me out a lot.

Would you recommend other students to embark on a student exchange to Chengdu University?

Totally, everyone should do it! It gets you out of your comfort zone. I loved it, it was cool – but prepare for loud jackhammers through the night. During my first week back from China in Hamilton, everything seemed so small and quiet.

You submitted your last project for your Media Arts Degree, can you tell us what’s next? Have you come to the end of this Rhombus idea?
No never, never. New clay works are in the mix, the clay, terracotta work in this show sold instantly, so I am going to develop more work of this nature. I would love to consider myself as part of the creative boost that is happening in Hamilton right now. Things are happening and changing here, and it’s exciting to be a part of that.

A Rhombus Is My Favourite Crooked Square by Mark Peter
Open 20 June until 22 June
Skinroom Gallery
Level 1, 123 Commerce Street, Frankton, Hamilton

Big thanks to Mark for meeting with us to discuss his creative practice and experience at Chengdu University, China. We wish you all the best Mark, and we look forward to seeing what you create next!

Find out more about the Chengdu University student exchange experience with Wintec here.

Inspired by Marks creative journey? Read more about studying at Media Arts Wintec here.

Rachel Hope Peary – Student Profile

Rachel Hope Peary – Student Profile
Rachel started a Media Arts degree three years ago intending to pursue design and marketing, however, in that time her attraction to the visual arts field has taken hold.
Hamilton’s supportive creative community has given Rachel the chance to pursue a new found passion for making art. Her unique works on paper combine laser cut compositions with a muted colour palette and are driven by her attraction to a minimalist abstract aesthetic.
We recently caught up with Rachel in her Media Arts studio, to learn more about her background and her creative practice.
Can you tell us about your creative background? What areas of study and work were you involved with before starting your Media Arts Degree?
It feels like a lifetime ago now, but my creative background is actually in music, I started writing, playing and singing when I was 14. I did the first year of the Wintec Commercial Music degree back in 2006 and then lived and worked in Auckland – gigs at night and office job by day! It was almost eight years later when I picked up the degree again in Painting and Sculpture.
What made you want to study a visual arts degree? Was it important for you to gain a qualification, can you tell us why?
I was working an Office/Marketing job for about four years and I wanted to move up in my career but every job I went for seemed to require a degree. I was 25, so it felt like the right time and age to step back into study.
You are focusing on painting and sculpture in your current practice, was this what you intended to do when you started? Did the journey to this point surprise you?
I intended to pursue design and marketing, get a solid job and settle into the 9-5 life after graduating. I only really started down the painting and sculpture track because I knew a lot of graphic design basics and felt like painting and sculpture would be more challenging. It has become so much more than that and has changed my perspectives on art and life so drastically. I love what I do so much now and I don’t see myself leaving this for marketing anytime soon, if ever!
The first time I picked up a paint brush was half way through my second year, and I was terrified, now one of my favourite places is my studio and my happiest space is amidst a painting. It still feels strange to be doing what I am and getting the results I’m achieving. I think I have an unusual temperament to be an artist, I’m quite reserved and analytical, not a typical artist student type!

It quickly became so much more than that and has changed my perspectives of art and life so drastically.

You have described yourself as a multidisciplinary artist with an abstract minimalist aesthetic, can you explain your process and attraction to this way of working?
I’m attracted to abstract work because it feels like an endless exploration of concepts and ideas. It can say so much without saying anything. It’s a lot like music to me, it can take you somewhere and draw something out of you while saying and looking like nothing. I want to make work that requires pause and observation, work where the more time you give it, the more it gives to you.
It’s the process that has made me love art, that’s my analytical side coming out. I craft away at something, observe it and then recreate it again, observe then recreate and eventually I’ll arrive at something that feels just resolved enough but still negotiable, that’s when I know I’ve finished. It seems like a commentary on life. I always find myself drawn to little moments, an interaction of colours or layers, the way one shape relates with another and that’s what I’m constantly trying to achieve and communicate in my work.
What Wintec facilities do you use most often? Can you tell us how the studio spaces have been supportive to developing your work and creative practice?
I LOVE my studio space. I would hands down not be where I am with my work without it. It provided space to test and create, make a mess and make mistakes. It’s also so valuable to be constantly surrounded by other students work and it creates a creative culture and community which is vital in my opinion. I have also gained so much from the tutors I’ve been lucky enough to work with. I think Wintec’s art department is underrated in a lot of ways, it has so much to give to young artists.

I LOVE my studio space. It’s also so valuable to be constantly surrounded by other students work, it creates a creative culture and community which is vital in my opinion.

You are about to undertake an Honours project, can you tell why this is a significant step for you and about what you hope to achieve?
Starting my honours is super exciting and it’s been a long journey to arrive here. I began studying in 2014 when I was pregnant with my son, who is about to turn three! I’ve worked almost non-stop for the past 3 ½ years, so starting my honours feels like a significant achievement. I still feel like I have some unfinished business with some ideas I’ve been exploring, so I hope to achieve some resolve there.
What are you looking forward to the most about starting your Honours project? 
I’m looking forward to being able to slow down and focus on one project. An art degree can be hard because your attention is split between at least three or four different ideas, so consolidating that into one thing is a relief for me. That and starting at the beginning of my creative process, painting! I’m itching to get into my studio and get painting!
Where would you like to end up after you complete your Honours project? Can you tell us about where you hope your Media Arts qualifications will take you?
I would love to do an artist residency somewhere, at some point, but it scares me to think that I haven’t really thought past that. All I know for sure is that it’ll take me wherever I want it to.
Finally, can you give us five keywords that best describe your time here at Media Arts?
Complex, productive, creative, surprising and irreplaceable.
Huge thanks to Rachel for sharing her studio space and thoughts with us, you can see more of Rachel’s beautiful work on her website. 
Our painting and sculpture studios are ideally sized for creating. Book a tour to see the studios for yourself, get in touch here.