'UC has a real community feel and that passes through into the School of Fine Arts...'
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design
Majoring in Graphic Design was not Eliana’s original plan when she embarked on her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.
‘I have always loved art and art history,’ she explains, ‘and before I came to UC’s Ilam School of Fine Arts I thought I’d study Painting. I wanted to come here because I liked the small classes and the amount of contact time with tutors. I also liked the [first] Intermediate Year, where you get a taste of media such as sculpture, painting, printmaking, photography, film and design before you specialise. And now I do Graphic Design! I love how majoring in Graphic Design allows me to create a style that is interdisciplinary.’
As a place to study and create art, Eliana finds UC has the ideal mix.
‘UC has a real community feel and that passes through into the School of Fine Arts. It’s a great environment to create work in. The tutors teach you to think for yourself, present your work to a high standard and feel confident to talk about it. It’s great to have your own studio space that you call yours for the year. For most of the year my studio space is my second home... sometimes my first home as it seems I spend more time there than at my flat!’
It is not just her study that keeps her away from her flat. In her spare time Eliana volunteers at an art gallery in Christchurch, teaches piano, runs a Glee club at a primary school and works at an after-school centre. She also loves to sing and has been a member of the Christchurch Pops Choir since moving here.
Originally from Hawke’s Bay, Eliana has found it easy to settle into her new city and university.
‘Being from out of town it was nice to know that there was a great selection of halls of residence to choose from. I am still very close to many of the friends I made in the first year,’ she says.
‘I love that everyone is on the same campus. There is always something to do. There are numerous clubs which means that everyone can find a group of people that tick like they do. I’ve always loved the theatre and there are heaps of shows that go on in Christchurch. The on-campus gallery is great too. Not many people know that we get internationally renowned artists through that space. It’s almost the best-kept secret on campus and I like that I am a part of that.
‘When I want to relax I go for walks, I enjoy the weekend markets and discovering a new café. I love my coffee too!’
Eliana hopes one day to be an art curator or work as an in-house designer for an art gallery. ‘I also want to continue to be a practising artist,’ she says. ‘It would be great to have an international exhibition one day.’
Her enthusiasm for her degree is clear, and Eliana’s advice to others is positive.
‘There are so many opportunities to be taken, but it’s not going to be put on a plate and handed to you – you have to go and find it, so don’t be shy. And also be open in the Intermediate Year that what you thought you might want to major in may change. Fine Arts is the kind of degree where it’s important to have an open mind!’